The three major shareholders of Hachette Book Group parent company Lagardère—Vivendi, which owns 23.5% of Lagardère’s shares, Amber Capital, which holds some 20%, and Qatar Capital, which has a 13% stake—are now aligned in a push to take over four of nine seats on the company's board, thereby exercising more direct control over management of the company. None of the three shareholders currently have direct representation on the board.
Lagardère, which owns Hachette among other companies, is controlled by Lagardère's Capital & Management, which owns just 7% of shares but maintains control of the company overall. LCM is itself run by Lagardere CEO Arnaud Lagardère's and Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH, the world's largest luxury group.
Previously, Qatar Capital had been aligned with management, but recently switched sides, noting in a press release their desire "that all significant shareholders be fairly represented." The Qataris have now positioned themselves to work with Amber Capital, which is known as an activist investor, and Vivendi, which is run Vincent Bolloré, who is seen as a rival of Bernard Arnault.
Lagardère said in response to the announcement of Qatar Capital's change of heart that the company would take up the issue at their next general shareholder meeting, which is scheduled for spring of 2021. Meanwhile, a court hearing is scheduled for Thursday at the request of Vivendi and Amber Capital, which are pushing for a special general meeting to be held early.