French media group Lagardere gets 465 mln euro state guaranteed loan

PARIS, Jan 3 (Reuters) - French media group Lagardere , the owner of Paris Match magazine, has received a 465 million euro ($564 million) state-guaranteed loan to help it cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic, the government’s official gazette said on Sunday.

The company, which also owns Europe 1 radio, reported in November a 38% drop in third-quarter sales, driven down by the freefall in activity at its airport shops in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government will guarantee 80% of the loan granted by a consortium of banks including BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Mutuel de Paris et d’Ile-de-France, Commerzbank, Crédit Agricole CIB, Crédit Lyonnais, ING , Société Générale and UniCredit, the gazette said.

Lagardere has also become the target of a proxy battle between some of France’s top businessmen after activist fund Amber Capital attempted to shake up its governance.

The French government started offering last year state guarantees on business loans granted by commercial banks to help firms cope with economic impact of the pandemic.

Loans to large companies have to be signed off by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and disclosed in the official gazette.

$1 = 0.8239 euros Reporting by Leigh Thomas Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky