Arnaud Lagardere to change corporate governance at Lagardere company -Les Echos

PARIS, April 24 (Reuters) - Arnaud Lagardere is set to back corporate governance changes at the Lagardere business conglomerate, which was mainly established by his father and has since attracted the interests of some of France’s richest billionaires, reported Les Echos.

Les Echos reported that Arnaud Lagardere was ready to abandon the so-called “commandite” governance structure, under which Arnaud Lagardere had veto powers on many corporate decisions despite only having a 7% stake in the company.

Officials at the Lagardere company could not be immediately reached for a comment on the report in Les Echos.

Lagardere, home to Paris Match magazine, Europe 1 radio, Hachette books and airport shops, has become the target of a battle for influence at the company between some of France’s top businessmen after activist fund Amber Capital attempted to shake up its governance.

Vivendi, a media group controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore, has teamed up with Amber and bought a large minority stake in Lagardere, while French luxury goods billionaire and LVMH chief Bernard Arnault has invested in Arnaud Lagardere’s family office firm.

Les Echos reported that the corporate governance changes were set to be approved at boardroom level this week.

Arnaud Lagardere, who is currently a managing partner at the company, would become Chairman and CEO of Lagardere, and could raise his stake in the company to around 14%, said Les Echos.

In return, however, the planned corporate governance changes could see him lose his previous veto powers, and other top shareholders such as Vincent Bollore and Bernard Arnault could gain more influence within the Lagardere company, while Arnaud Lagardere’s influence could diminish by comparison. (Reporting by Jean-Michel Belot and Michel Rose; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)