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L’Oreal And Nestle To Face Ownership Options For French Cosmetics Group

September 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The death of heiress Liliane Bettencourt, whose family owns 33 percent of L’Oréal, will likely force key investors to address the company’s ownership structure. Nestlé SA, which owns 23 percent, agreed with the Bettencourts not to increase stakes in L’Oréal, but this agreement expires in six months.  Nestlé could then purchase a controlling share in L’Oréal but is more likely to sell its stake, a move that would force L’Oréal to accept wider (and potentially hostile) ownership or opt to invest further funds in the company, boosting earnings per share but reducing funds available for acquisitions.  For Nestlé, the resulting 24 billion euro windfall brings a dilemma. It could payout funds to appease shareholders and especially its activist investor, Third Point, or use the funds to double down on its currently lackluster food and nutrition business.
Andrea Felsted et al., "A Historic Moment for L'Oreal... and Nestle", Bloomberg Gadfly, September 22, 2017, © Bloomberg Finance L.P.
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