* French media said Lagardere was in Hachette sale talks
* Lagardere has become proxy battle between French billionaires
* Third-quarter sales down by 38% (Adds details, background)
PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - French media group Lagardere is not holding talks regarding potential disposals nor plans to change its governance structure, its boss said on Thursday after French media reports saying it was in talks over a sale of publishing group Hachette.
Lagardere, also home to Paris Match magazine and airport shops, has become the target of a proxy battle between some of France’s top businessmen after activist fund Amber Capital attempted to shake up its governance.
New investors came on board, including Vincent Bollore, the billionaire who controls media group Vivendi, and LVMH chief and France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault.
“There are no negotiations on any disposal of the group; no negotiations on any change of limited partnership currently,” Arnaud Lagardere told analysts in a call.
“Obviously, we’re having some discussions with all the shareholders because it is good governance.”
Arnaud Lagardere declined to comment on recent reports in the French media, including newspaper Le Monde and news channel BFM TV, that it could consider selling Hachette to Vivendi and put an end to its “commandite”, an unusual legal structure that gives him veto powers on many decisions.
Earlier on Thursday the company reported third-quarter sales down 38% at 1.19 billion euros ($1.4 billion), driven down by the freefall in activity at its airport shops in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. ($1 = 0.8471 euros)
Reporting by Matthieu Roemain Writing by Dominique Vidalon Editing by David Goodman
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