Mumbai: French buyout firm Butler Capital Partners is negotiating to buy roughly a 75 per cent stake in retailer Virgin France Group from defence and media conglomerate Lagardère SCA, Walter Butler, head of buy-out firm, said.
The talks, if successful, will hand Paris-based Butler Capital control of France''''s No. 3 retailer of music and DVDs.
Virgin France operates 34 Virgin-branded stores, including flagship operation on the Champs-Elysées, as well as the Virgin download site, and 12 bookstores operating under the brand name Furet du Nord.
The company is likely to report sales of about €400 million ($588 million) in 2007, up about 4 per cent on the previous year.
Butler said talks with Lagardère Services, the Lagardère unit that owns the Virgin group, were ongoing. He declined to reveal the acquisition cost.
"It is one of the top 10 brands in France and has fantastic stores," Butler said. "The challenge is to establish its new offering in the developing market."
Lagardère wants to sell the unit for a wider restructuring with the group''''s focus on its print and defence businesses. Lagardère confirmed the talks but did not provide further details.
Lagardère bought Virgin Megastores in January 2001 for about €150 million in cash, combining it with its struggling music and book retailing arm, Extrapole.
A deal would add another high-profile name to Butler''''s eclectic mix of investments, including a stake in Paris-based soccer club Paris Saint-Germain. It would also mark its re-entry into commercial retailing.
Clifford Chance LLP is providing legal advice to Butler Capital on the Virgin France deal.