November 20, 2017 / 11:24 AM / a year ago

French government will fend off hostile takeovers: PM

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe delivers a speech at a congress of "La Republique en Marche" (The Republic On The Move or LREM) political party in Lyon, France, November 18, 2017. REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government will defend its national corporate champions against any takeover deemed to be hostile, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Monday.

“Let’s not be naive, we won’t hesitate to stand up if French champions come under threat, especially in case of a takeover threat,” Philippe told a meeting of the National Industry Council in the northern Paris suburb of Bobigny.

“This vigilance is not only for the defense and security sectors, it’s for all sectors, including agro-food and cosmetics,” he added.

French food group Danone (DANO.PA) was the subject of takeover speculation following a report in August in the New York Post that it could be a takeover target.

In September, the death of billionaire Liliane Bettencourt raised questions about how L’Oreal’s founding family and major shareholder Nestle (NESN.S) would manage their stakes in the world’s biggest cosmetics firm.

Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Brian Love

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