The proxy battle that has plagued Lagardère, the parent company of Hachette Livre, for the past year has been resolved, as the company has agreed to dissolve its previous operating structure and transition to a more conventional joint stock company. Previously, Arnaud Lagardère, the son of the founder, was able to exert an inordinate amount of control over the company through his family's holding company, despite owning only 7% of shares. Other stakeholders, including Vivendi, which owns a 26.7% stake, and Amber Capital, which owns 20% of Lagardère, had been pushing for greater control.
Under the new structure, Arnaud Lagardère will be appointed chairman and CEO for a six year term, while retaining control of three seats on the company's board. Vivendi will also control three, while Amber Capital and other stake holders will get one each.
The fear had been that the proxy fight might end with the company being broken up and its publishing assets sold off to Vivendi. Today's news appears to alleviate that threat, with the company asserting in a press release that the new structure is a "reaffirmation of the integrity of the group, focused on its two pillars, Lagardère Publishing and Lagardère Travel Retail, together with its the other activities."
Next, the deal awaits approval from French financial authorities.