French media group Bouygues has been forced to deny the death of its CEO, who is also co-owner of Chateau Montrose in Bordeaux, following a press report.

Chateau Montrose in St Estephe

Martin Bouygues
was briefly reported as dead last weekend by Agence France Presse (AFP), but the news agency retracted its report and issued an apology after the Bouygues Group clarified that the the billionaire co-owner of Chateau Montrose was still alive.

‘Bouygues categorically denies that its chairman and CEO, Martin Bouygues, has died and deeply regrets that such a rumour has been allowed to spread,’ said the firm.

France’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, also tweeted that he had spoken to Bouygues via telephone.

The mistaken report – which was immediately withdrawn once the error was known – followed a misunderstanding between an AFP journalist and a Mayor in the Orne area, where Bouygues has a home. AFP said it was investigating how the mistake was made.

Martin Bouygues and his brother Olivier bought Montrose, a St-Estephe second growth, in 2006 for 140m euros. They are subsequently believed to have spent around 20m euros on refurbishing the chateau, as well as making renovations and new installations. Montrose was a favourite wine of their father, Francis Bouygues.

According to Forbes, the Bouygues brothers have a combined fortune of US$3.7bn, making them the 15th wealthiest individuals in France. Martin Bouygues is a close friend of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Written by Richard Woodard