He had been in ambush for years: Vincent Bolloré, the boss of Vivendi is about to succeed in his takeover bid on the Lagardère group and to appropriate Paris Match, The JDD, Europe 1, the publishing giant Hachette, the thousands of Relay shops in train stations and airports around the world… Arnaud Lagardère thus sees what remained of his father’s monumental legacy, built stone by stone since the 1960s, slip away from him. The “Complément d’Enquête” document which traces, on June 2, 2022, the rise and fall of an empire also tells a unique saga: from an arms dealer father to a prodigal son, programmed to reign. but often accused of dilettantism.
On March 14, 2003, the most powerful boss in Europe died at the age of 75, victim of an extremely rare autoimmune disease: Hurst syndrome. On the day of his funeral, all that France has of personalities are present. Many “people”, but above all politicians, and in particular the entire government of the time, from Jean-François Copé to Luc Ferry or Jean-Louis Borloo. And already, competitors who are entering the ranks.
“All the predators start circling around the group saying ‘Hehe…we’re going to share the media, there’s some good business to be had.’ We come to pay homage to the great man, but above all, we come to test the heir.”Thierry Gadault, author of “Arnaud Lagardère, the insolent” (ed. Maren Sell)
to “Further investigation”
The heir is devastated, lost. It was on the advice of an old family friend, then Minister of the Interior, that he pulled himself together and decided to take over the reins of the company ‒ “to respect what [s]we father would have liked“It was Nicolas Sarkozy’s words that convinced him to take over, he recalls in this excerpt.”Your place, it is therehe would have assured her. You have this group, people need you. It is an important group, which counts for the country. Now it’s up to you.“
A few days later, Arnaud Lagardère showed all his “determination” during a press conference in the form of a message to those who dream of sharing the empire. “His disappearance puts me in a position that leaves me no choice: it is to build, and to continue to build, the work that he had begun and that he could not finish.“, he says. At 42, the heir finds himself alone at the helm of a group that employs 35,000 people, and weighs nearly 13 billion euros.
Extract from “Lagardère: the end of an empire?”, a document to see in “Complément d’Enquête” on June 2, 2022.
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