UPDATE 1-Lagardere in new spat around Wyser-Pratte campaign

* Lagardere says RiskMetrics report “misleading”

* Says Wyser-Pratte actions not constructive

(Adds detail from letter to shareholders)

PARIS, April 13 (BestGrowthStock) – Lagardere (LAGA.PA: ) on Tuesday
condemned a report urging shareholders to support activist
investor Guy Wyser-Pratte’s battle against the French
family-controlled media group.

The company said the report was misleading and incomplete.

Analysts said the spat at the media-to-aerospace group –
tightly held by the son of a charismatic founder who is seeking
a fresh strategy – has highlighted Lagardere’s undervaluation
and placed its shareholding structure under scrutiny.
RiskMetrics Group (RMG) (RISK.N: ), which advises
institutional investors such as mutual funds on how to vote on
corporate governance issues, on Monday backed resolutions
submitted by Wyser-Pratte.

Wyser-Pratte, a French-born American and former U.S. Marine
who says he owns 0.53 percent of Lagardere, has submitted two
resolutions seeking a board seat and reform of the company’s
status as a “societe en commandite par actions”, which
concentrates power in the hands of Chief Executive Arnaud
Lagardere. [ID:nLDE6351RC]

The structure is also used by tyre maker Michelin (MICP.PA: ),
among others.

RiskMetrics said that Lagardere’s shares have underperformed
its publishing and broadcasting peers over the past five years
and that the group’s operating margins also trail its
competitors. [ID:nLDE63B1HD]

Lagardere said in a letter to shareholders: “The process by
which RMG has arrived at its recommendations, which purely
reflect and restate the opinion of an activist shareholder, is
unreliable, as confirmed by the numerous errors and
approximations.”

Lagardere said it was “open to dialogue” with its
shareholders and said Wyser-Pratte had not yet requested a
meeting or given “precise comments on the strategies that he
recommends”.

“These recommendations and generally the hostile intrusion
of Guy Wyser-Pratte do not represent a constructive dialogue
with the stakeholders,” Lagardere added.

Deminor, a lobby group for minority shareholders, said it
backed Wyser-Pratte’s contentions about the governance issue.

Stock Market Analysis

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by David Cowell)

UPDATE 1-Lagardere in new spat around Wyser-Pratte campaign