France’s Arnault restructures his Lagardere holdings

French media and publishing firm Lagardere (LAGA.PA) said on Wednesday that Financière Agache, a holding company owned by French luxury goods billionaire Bernard Arnault, had exercised its option to sell its entire stake in Lagardère Capital in exchange for Lagardère SA shares held by Lagardère Capital.

Lagardere said in a statement that the transaction, which will be carried out by means of an unequal reduction in Lagardère Capital’s share capital, is expected to be finalized by early October at the latest. It also said that a shareholders’ agreement between the parties will be terminated.

Lagardere said that in accordance with this shareholders’ agreement, Financière Agache will receive 3.9 million Lagardère SA shares currently held by Lagardère Capital in exchange for its stake in Lagardère Capital.

With the deal, Arnault unravels his investment in Arnaud Lagardère’s holding company, in exchange for shares directly in the media and publishing group.

That will take his holding in Lagardere to just under 10% from less than 8% now.

Arnault had initially invested to help Arnaud Lagardère fight off an activist fund, but he ended up sidelined after billionaire Vincent Bollore ended up becoming Lagardere’s lead shareholder.