December 12, 2007

France’s Lagardere Group Extends Its Reach





More active in the United States than in Britain, France’s Lagardere group has moved to build up its business in London and asked Jean-Paul Gut, former number two man at EADS, to spearhead the effort.

Because his departure stirred controversy over the size of his severance package, the former managing director of EADS, Jean-Paul Gut, has kept his head resolutely down over the past six months. A childhood friend of Arnaud Lagardere, Gut didn’t take a job with the Qatar Investment Authority as had been expected but rather became boss of Lagardere UK Ltd., an affiliate of the group that aims to buy stakes in telecommunications and media concerns in the U.K. and, more broadly, in Europe and the Middle East.

After quitting the co-chairmanship of EADS, Philippe Camus became the head of a similar fund in the United States. This spring, another former co-chairman of EADS, Noel Forgeard, also started up an equity fund specializing in aeronautics in Asia with Maurice Savart as partner.

In addition to his work for the Lagardere group, Gut has just set up a consultancy, Coolmore International, to help firms plant their flags in new markets (primarily Middle East and Asia) and to advise them on setting up local offset and profit-sharing programs.

Gut’s presence in London is expected to set the spur to the Lagardere group’s operations in the U.K., which have been limited up to now to the defense and aeronautics sectors through various affiliates of EADS (see graph below). MBDA and EADS International already operate in the country and the group has just set up a local subsidiary of Eurocopter.

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