The investigation is progressing. The Paris headquarters of the company Lagardère was raided on Wednesday, September 15, as part of a judicial investigation opened in April on a dispute between the group and its shareholder, the Amber Capital fund, said the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF). The investigating judges ordered this search in the investigation opened in April 2021 of the heads, in particular, of “vote buying”, “abuse of corporate assets”, “inaccurate accounts” and “false or misleading information”, according to the source, confirming information from the Point.
In the spring, Arnaud Lagardère, 60, had to give in to the powerful shareholders of the multinational, including Vincent Bolloré, Bernard Arnault and the British fund Amber Capital, who challenged his governance. He was threatened with blockage and faced with the economic difficulties of his group – owner of Hachette Livre and several media including radio Europe 1 and the weekly Paris Match – during the pandemic.
The transformation project, presented at the end of April and validated at the end of June at a general meeting, put an end to the atypical status of the group limited by shares, which made the heir of Jean-Luc Lagardère unbreakable although very much in the minority. Arnaud Lagardère obtained by this agreement a position of CEO for six years.
Before this outcome, the struggle for influence had lasted for months between Vincent Bolloré (Vivendi) allied to the Amber Capital fund, and the richest man in France and CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault. This fight had led Amber Capital, initiator of the sling against governance, to file a complaint with the PNF, in February according to The world, in a guerrilla war which had already taken legal detours on several occasions.
On the occasion of the signing of the transformation project at the end of April, Lagardère had signed a “transactional agreement” with Amber Capital who was supposed to put an end to the various legal proceedings that had opposed them for years. The PNF, however, took up the complaint of Amber Capital and opened a judicial investigation the same month.