PARIS — French billionaire François Pinault’s family holding company Artémis has sold its 24.3 percent stake in Fnac Darty to Germany’s Ceconomy.
The sale marks a milestone in the evolution of the Pinault family’s business holdings over the years, which included Fnac since the early nineties. A French household name, the books and electronics seller once formed part of the sprawling conglomerate that was later fashioned into the luxury group Kering.
Ceconomy, which was spun off from German retail giant Metro AG earlier this month, said the purchase, totaling around 452 million euros, gives the company a foothold in the French market.
With the transaction, the German retailer becomes the largest shareholder of Fnac Darty and will gain “exposure to the highly attractive French market and its particularly strong consumer electronics segment,” said Pieter Haas, chief executive officer of Ceconomy.
The German retailer said it seeks to strengthen its position as a European leader in the consumer electronics business.
The sale comes weeks after the departure of Alexandre Bompard, chief executive officer of Fnac since 2011, who engineered its merger with the household appliance specialist Darty. Bompard was tapped to head the grocery giant Carrefour SA.
With the transaction, which the companies expect to complete by the end of August, Ceconomy will be able to nominate three members to the board of Fnac Darty.
“With the backing of a new renowned strategic partner, the group is forging ahead with strengthened means to accelerate the implementation of its growth strategy,” said François-Henri Pinault, chairman of the board of Artémis and ceo of Kering, formerly known as PPR.