French media group Lagardere parts with EADS stake | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 09.04.2013
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French media group Lagardere parts with EADS stake

French media company Lagardere has said it's sold its entire stake in European aerospace and defense giant EADS. The move came in line with a previously brokered agreement to realign EADS' shareholder structure.

French media group Lagardere on Tuesday announced it had sold its stake in EADS, the parent company of European plane maker Airbus. It said it had unloaded its entire 7.4-percent involvement in the aerospace giant, thus terminating its defense activities.

Lagardere reported it sold a total of 61 million shares for 2.28 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in a move that facilitated EADS' drive to reorganize its shareholder structure. The French media company had previously said it would distribute a substantial portion of the proceeds to its investors.

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EADS streamlines ownership structure

In a separate statement on Tuesday, EADS announced it had bought some of the shares sold, adding 1.61 percent to the holdings of its own stock. It was part of a broader 18-month buyback program announced earlier this month.

Daimler next?

All in all, EADS wants to buy back shares worth 3.75 billion euros in line with a scheme agreed by Germany, France and Spain towards the end of 2012. German car and truck maker Daimler is also expected to sell its 7.5-percent stake in EADS.

In future, Berlin, Paris and Madrid will have a 28-percent state-owned stake in the European aerospace and defense giant, with Germany and France to hold 12 percent each and Spain to secure a 4-percent stake in the company.

Investors didn't seem impressed by Lagardere's sales push and what it was supposed to mean for the future of EADS. In early trading on the Paris stock exchange, EADS shares were down by almost 2 percent, while the CAC 40 index of leading stocks pointed upwards.

hg/kms (dpa, AFP, AP)

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