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Taittinger for sale

Published:  23 July, 2008

The value of shares in the family-owned parent company of Champagne Taittinger, Taittinger SA, has risen strongly following reports that the company is up for sale and considering numerous takeover bids'.

The company, which has a market value of €1.14 billion, has appointed BNP Paribas and Rothschild et Cie to advise its shareholders. Potential purchasers are as likely to be attracted by Taittinger's controlling interest in the hotel and luxury goods company, Socit du Louvre, which owns the Htel de Crillon in Paris and Baccarat Crystal, as they are by the Champagne house itself.

It is thought that the possibility of a sale has been hastened by the looming expiry date next year of a shareholder pact formed by the Taittinger family with the Belgian investor, Albert Frre, who is Socit du Louvre's second-largest shareholder. Frre has expressed a desire to sell his 15% of the business, leaving the Taittingers to consider their assets.

At the time of going to press, it was unclear which companies had expressed an interest in Taittinger, and neither Champagne Taittinger nor the company's UK agents, Hatch Mansfield, were able to provide more information on the situation. However, reports in the French and British financial press suggest that a number of investment groups have already made enquiries.

Based in Reims, Champagne Taittinger is the third-oldest of the Champagne houses. It produces around 4.5 million bottles of Champagne each year and owns around 280 hectares of vineyard and a 21 million-bottle cellar. The Taittinger family has been involved with the company since 1932.