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Hear Arnault Makes Offer For Press Group

NEW YORK -- Luxury goods czar Bernard Arnault is reportedly trying to expand his budding French press empire.<BR><BR>Arnault's conglomerate, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is looking into buying all or part of the Expansion financial press group,...

NEW YORK — Luxury goods czar Bernard Arnault is reportedly trying to expand his budding French press empire.

Arnault’s conglomerate, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is looking into buying all or part of the Expansion financial press group, according to reports here.

An LVMH spokesman declined to confirm that the group had made an offer, but a source close to Arnault noted that Arnault and LVMH board member Pierre Gode have “repeatedly stated their intention to look into further media ventures, especially print opportunities in the financial sector.” Arnault bought 53 percent of the financial dailies La Tribune Desfosses and L’Agefi last August, and 100 percent of the weekly magazine Investir last November. La Tribune Desfosses and L’Agefi were part of the financially troubled Expansion group.

Expansion — which counts Dow Jones, Handelsblatt, the Compagnie Financiere de Rothschild, the French bank Indosuez, and the French investment group Fimalac among its shareholders — comprises three magazines: Expansion, L’Entreprise and La Vie Francaise.

The publications together are valued between $69 million and $86 million (400 to 500 million francs at current exchange rates).

Expansion reportedly is talking with two other possible buyers in addition to LVMH.