Switzerland's Maus Freres snaps up Lacoste

GENEVA Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:44am GMT

French sport label Lacoste logo is seen in Paris February 19, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

French sport label Lacoste logo is seen in Paris February 19, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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GENEVA (Reuters) - Lacoste has been bought by Swiss family-held group Maus Freres in a deal which valued the French sportswear and fashion maker at 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), Maus Freres said on Thursday.

The deal, which follows a Lacoste family feud over management, aims to ensure the longevity of the Lacoste brand, Maus Freres said. Founded in 1933 by French tennis champion Rene Lacoste, the brand took its logo from his nickname "The Crocodile" which he earned for his tenacity on the court.

"All Lacoste family shareholders have decided to sell the totality of their shares to Maus Freres, which already held 35 percent of Lacoste capital via its subsidiary Devanlay," said Maus Freres, which owns department stores and home-improvement chains in Switzerland.

Maus Freres said last month it had agreed to buy an additional 30.3 percent stake in Lacoste from sellers including Michel Lacoste, the former chairman and chief executive, giving it control. The deal was subject to fulfillment of conditions it did not specify but it was offering the same conditions to buy the shares of the remaining family shareholders.

A family feud over the management of the brand pitted Michel Lacoste against his daughter, Sophie Lacoste-Dournel, who was named non-executive chairman in September.

A group of Lacoste shareholders said a week ago that they planned to sell their combined 28 percent stake to Maus Freres.

($1 = 0.7856 euros) (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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