French state-controlled investment bank CDC is to buy part of the 7.5% stake in European aerospace group EADS that’s being sold by the French media group Lagardere. CDC will purchase up to 2.25% of the shares.
The acquisition fits in with a call from French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin for CDC to buy holdings in so-called strategic companies to keep them out of the hands of foreign investors.
The French government already owns 15% of EADS and this move will change the previously carefully preserved balance between the major French and German shareholders. The other national interest is Spain’s Casa.
Last week, Lagardere and its fellow shareholder German car maker DaimlerChrysler announced they were each selling part of their share in EADS to focus more on their core activities.
KFW, the German government’s state-controlled investment bank, has denied that it wants to acquire any of the shares being sold by DaimlerChrysler.
Newspaper reports said DaimlerChrysler is talking to several interested parties.
Also last week, the British defence firm BAE Systems said it is negotiating to sell its 20% holding in Airbus – the commercial aircraft part of the business – to EADS, which holds the other 80%.