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Lagardere lifts his stake

Topper believes shares undervalued

PARIS — Arnaud Lagardere, topper of French media and industrial group Lagardere, has put his money where his mouth is and upped his stake in the group from 5.45% to 7.16%.

Analysts see the buy-up as the topper’s attempt to demonstrate his belief that the group’s shares are consistently undervalued.

Lagardere did not need the extra shares, as he controls the group not through his stake but via a legal mandate. Furthermore, he already owned a large enough stake to keep an initial public offering from becoming an issue.

Lagardere announced in September his intention to increase his participation and actually bought the shares on Thursday, although the company did not announce the buy-up until Tuesday. His voting rights in the company rose from 6.96% to 8.55% as a result of the move.

Move did not substantially alter the share price: Lagardere closed up E0.50 to E58 ($74.90) on the Paris Bourse on Tuesday.

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