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Boizel still holds candle for Lanson

Lanson looks set to be taken over by fellow Champagne house Boizel Chanoine Champagne after two potential buyers pulled out of talks earlier this week.

Although the sale of the Champagne house has seen many suitors and provided many column inches in the broadsheets, no one company has gone ahead with the acquisition.

So far, the two favourites had been Walter Butler, a Franco-American investment group, and French entrepreneur Jean-Claude Darmon. Both have since pulled out amid reports that Lanson’s debts, which are estimated at around €420m (£285m), could be even greater than at first thought.

‘I did not get the necessary guarantees,’ Darmon said.

Since then, Boizel has returned to the to the table with its original offer, made two weeks ago, of €100m (£68m). Although the offer was rejected by Lanson chief Francois-Xavier Mora for being too small, with options running out, Mora may well accept.

Boizel’s chairman, Bruno Paillard, is said to be keen on the takeover.

Lanson is France’s third-biggest Champagne producer, the UK’s number two Champagne brand and number three in Japan. However, the company has been dogged by debt and many outsiders blame Mora’s decision to concentrate on selling his Champagne at a cheaper price.

Despite admitting that he ‘like everyone, made mistakes’, Mora is unrepentant.

‘I sold 400m bottles in 20 years – 180m outside France. I’ve brought in some money, I can tell you,’ he said.

Written by Oliver Styles

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