Taittinger champagne back in French hands

1st June 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS , France, May 31, 2006 (AFP) - US investment company Starwood Capital said Wednesday it has sold its interests in French champagne maker Taittinger to the Crédit Agricole bank for EUR 660 million.

PARIS , France, May 31, 2006 (AFP) - US investment company Starwood Capital said Wednesday it has sold its interests in French champagne maker Taittinger to the Crédit Agricole bank for EUR 660 million.

The fund in mid-March began a procedure to sell off the famed champagne unit, for years a symbol of high-quality French luxury products.

Starwood purchased the entire Taittinger group from the Taittinger family a year ago but said it wanted only to retain control of its hotel division.

The chances that Crédit Agricole unit Crédit Agricole du Nord Est — along with members of the Taittinger family — would win the bidding battle had grown on Monday when India's largest distiller, the United Breweries Group, said it had shelved plans to buy Taittinger.

United Breweries said the decision to pull out came after "local groups" increased their offers and made that from UB less viable.

Starwood said in a statement Wednesday it had contacted over 100 potential purchasers on four continents but had picked Crédit Agricole du Nord Est because "its offer represented a combination of the highest equity proceeds..., most rapid transaction execution..., and simplest contract terms."

It said that closing of the transaction was conditioned only on the required anti-trust approval and was expected by early August.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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