LVMH, Pearson in exclusive talks over Les Echos sale

PARIS, June 21, 2007 (AFP) - French luxury goods group LVMH is in exclusive talks to buy French financial daily Les Echos from the British group Pearson, LVMH said Thursday, June 21st.


Bernard Arnault on 6 September 2006 in Paris - Photo : Jean Ayissi/AFP

An agreement would lead to further investments in the newspaper by LVMH, which already owns a rival financial daily, La Tribune.

Staff at Les Echos staged a wildcat strike on Tuesday to protest a possible sale, leading LVMH to insist that it "placed great importance in the editorial independence that contributes to the credibility, legitimacy and therefore the success of any press outlet."

Any agreement would contain "dispositions intended to ensure this editorial independance," an LVMH statement added.

Groupe Les Echos includes the newspaper, its business media website lesechos.fr, the business magazine Enjeux and other specialist financial information services.

Group directors called an extraordinary works committee meeting early Thursday to inform staff of the talks, union sources said.

Management told the meeting a deadline of late November had been set for the negotiations but added that a deal could be struck quickly.

Without confirming press reports that LVMH had offered 250 million euros (335 million dollars) for Les Echos, the directors did say the proposed sum "was large enough to oblige Pearson to make the talks exclusive and to submit the operation to approval by shareholders," a union source said.

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