Bondholders approve Lagardère Group’s transformation to joint-stock company

By Luke Barras-hill |

The conversion to a joint-stock company would represent ‘an important milestone’ in the Group’s history, says Lagardère.

The proposed transfer of Lagardère SCA from a partnership limited by shares to a joint-stock company has received the green light from the company’s bondholders.

Holders of the three series of bonds issued by the company since 2016 approved the move during a series of general meetings today (17 May).

Lagardère reacted to press speculation last month regarding the composition of the firm by stating that it was looking at the conversion proposed by Managing Partner Arnaud Lagardère.

This was subsequently confirmed, with Lagardère SCA’s Supervisory Board reacting positively to the proposal due to be presented at the 30 June general meeting.

REAFFIRMED COMMITMENT TO TRAVEL RETAIL

The proposal has been made on the basis of composed shareholder dialogue with the main investors in Lagardere SCA  – which have agreed to vote in favour of the proposal – and Lagardère ending its long-running legal dispute with Amber Capital.

A renewed governance structure would result in 7.26% Lagardère SCA shareholder and Managing Partner Arnaud Lagardère retaining the management reins but representation would be permitted from the main shareholders on the Board of Directors, including Arnaud Lagardère, Vivendi, Amber Capital, Qatar Holding, Financière Agache and two other board members.

As reported, last year, LVMH Moët Hennessy boss Bernard Arnault bought 25% of Arnaud Lagardère’s Lagardère Capital & Management via Groupe Arnault subsidary Financière Agache.

Arnaud Lagardère, who renewed his mandate for a further four years in 2020, would be appointed Chairman and CEO and Pierre Leroy would be appointed Deputy CEO under the proposal.

In turn, the Group would reaffirm its commitment to its two core business units: Lagardère Publishing and Lagardère Travel Retail, in addition to its other activities.

General Partners would be allocated ten million new shares and the consideration would be subject to a valuation report prepared by an independent expert commissioned by the Supervisory Board.

The proposed conversion is subject to obtaining an exemption from a tender offer from the French financial markets authority (Autorité des marchés financiers – AMF) and the approval of the general meetings of the shareholders and the bondholders.

Tightened travel restrictions in most countries across Europe dented Lagardère Travel Retail’s first quarter earnings, which fell by 57.6% on a reported basis (-56.1% like-for-like) year-on-year to €341 million/$406 million.

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