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Maus Frères Confirms Lacoste Takeover

The Swiss retail group said the terms of the acquisition valued Lacoste at $1.3 billion.

PARIS — Swiss retail group Maus Frères SA said it had reached a definitive agreement with family shareholders to acquire 100 percent of the capital of Lacoste SA, in a deal valuing the maker of crocodile-logo polo shirts at 1 billion euros, or $1.3 billion at current exchange.

“All of Lacoste’s family shareholders have decided to sell the totality of their shares to Maus Frères, which already owns 35 percent of the capital of Lacoste through its subsidiary Devanlay,” the group stated.

“This acquisition, which is subject to the approval of competition authorities, will allow Maus to capitalize fully on the assets of this iconic French brand and to launch a new phase in its development and expansion worldwide,” it added.

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The announcement follows recent declarations by family shareholders that they would sell their shares to Maus. A feud had split the family into two camps.

Sophie Lacoste Dournel, who was named president of the company’s non-executive board in September, said last week that she would not contest the decision by her estranged father Michel Lacoste and other members of the founding family to sell a 30.3 percent tranche of shares to Maus.

In addition, Lacoste Dournel said she and six other family members, who jointly retain 28 percent of the firm’s capital, had started talks with Maus to sell their stake under the same terms.

Maus Frères, controlled by the Maus and Nordmann families, has been in business since 1902 and controls the Gant, Aigle and Parashop brands. Its retail banners include Manor department stores, hardware and DIY chain Jumbo and sports retailer Athleticum.

The group posted 2011 sales of 5.3 billion Swiss francs, or $6 billion at average exchange, and employs some 22,000 people.