How to finish the horse race between the shareholders of Lagard * re ? Vivendi, the group controlled by Vincent Bolloré became the main shareholder of the publishing group and travel retail. He crossed the threshold of 20 % for up to approximately 21 % of the capital (16 % of the voting rights). For its part, the fund Amber Capital of Joseph Oughourlian, who has lost the battle for change to supervisory board at the annual general meeting of Lagardère, is found second shareholder. But it has also grappillé actions these past few days, with 19.9% of capital (15 % of the voting rights). "Vivendi and Amber are unavoidable, Arnaud Lagardère has any interest to discuss with them," says one close to the folder.
The sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, the third shareholder with 13 % of the capital (but 20 % of the voting rights), look at the party with curiosity. Like Bernard Arnault. On the 25th of may, Group Arnault is entered directly to the upper floor of Lagardère, to the "holy of holies" of the limited partnership, taking 25% of the personal holding of Arnaud Lagardère, Lagardère Capital & Management (LCM), which controls the company, for approximately € 80 million.
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Bolloré "swells the muscles"
Vincent Bolloré, who began with Vivendi to buy at 8 euros for the action Lagardère (it is 13.7 this Friday) and has disbursed approximately € 300 million for its investment, was surprised at the change of attitude of Arnaud Lagardère. Does he not make the eyes soft to pass a general assembly that was difficult in the face at Amber before looking, a few days later, the support of Bernard Arnault ? Certainly, Nicolas Bazire, the right arm of the CEO of LVMH, has warned Vincent Bolloré of the operation. But the latter none the less shocked by the way Arnaud Lagardère.
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"It is now clear that the arrival of Bernard Arnault was made in the back of Vincent Bolloré, which swells the muscles," said one actor in the folder. "Vincent Bolloré sends a clear message to Arnaud Lagardère, who has been called to the rescue, and then chose at one time to mount Bernard Arnault in sponsorship and sell Lagardère Studios Mediawan and not Vivendi. He says to her, "do harms me not in the future, otherwise this might turn out badly" ", point a source. In the camp, Arnaud Lagardère, it is noted that the control group has not changed (only 25 % of the holding company will go to Groupe Arnault), and that no application for the appointment of a member of monitoring was not made by Vivendi. At least, for the moment. Theoretically, the first shareholder has the possibility to convene an extraordinary general assembly to request of the representatives to the council and make a covenant with Amber, which would allow him to weigh up to 31 % of the voting rights.
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The fate of the sponsorship
During the next few months, bankers who advise Arnaud Lagardère in Rothschild, Gregory Chertok and Francois Wat, should floor on various scenarios. One of them is to remove the limited partnership, that call for several shareholders. In exchange, Arnaud Lagardère would get a place of reference shareholder of Lagardère and would try to sign a partnership agreement with the other shareholders. This solution is more probable that after a year 2020 under the seal of the crisis of the Covid-19 the financial results of Lagardère announced in sharp decline. This portends a meager dividend. Or even its deletion, as this year. However, the Lagard * re group has a history of paying generous dividends to its shareholders (1.30 euros per share in general). This allows in particular to Arnaud Lagardère, which owns 7.3% of the group, to repay its debt (€164 million at the end of 2019, as revealed by The Dot) to its creditors, including Credit agricole. "His relationship with the bank is soothed after the payment of Groupe Arnault ", provides a close to the folder.
Some already dream of a war between two barons of capitalism French, Bernard Arnault and Vincent Bolloré. Not sure, however, that it is taking place a day. No offense to Cassandra. "There will never be aggression between Vincent Bolloré, Bernard Arnault, who is very friendly, speak and attend, sweeps a good connoisseur of the folder. The folder Lagardère has nothing to do with the battle against Vivendi of 2013 on Canal+ or on Telecom Italia with the fund, Elliott. "Rather, it is a game of chess. A complex game that is played in five today : Arnaud Lagardère, Bernard Arnault, Vincent Bolloré, Amber Capital, and Qatar.