Champagne Taittinger is set to return to its former owners, according to rumours in the French financial world this morning.
French bank Credit Agricole is reportedly considering buying the entire wine division of the Taittinger group for an estimated €450m, according to French financial newspaper La Tribune.
It is reported that the Paris-based bank will ask all members of the Taittinger family to associate themselves with any takeover deal. Almost all the members of the family were involved in the running of the Champagne house and in the Société du Louvre.
The luxury brand group known as the Société du Louvre which, as well as Champagne Taittinger included several luxury hotels and Baccarat crystal, was acquired by American investment company Starwood last week.
The Starwood CEO, Barry Sternlicht, was quick to announce his company’s intention to cast off the Champagne division to concentrate on the hotel side of the business.
Credit Agricole would not comment on the rumours this morning, saying the ‘affair was being dealt with at a regional level’.
Credit Agricole would also open the Champagne house to other potential partners. Champagne Louis Roederer and the car-maker Peugeot have both been named as such; the latter held an original 7% stake in the Champagne house before its takeover by Starwood.
Individually, Louis Roederer has also been named as a possible buyer. Jean-Claude Rouzaud, head of the Champagne house, has refused to comment since Friday. However, a source close to Roederer confirmed that the company was examining its possibilities relating to the Taittinger affair.
Other potential suitors include wine industry heavyweights LVMH, Constellation Brands and Pernod-Ricard.
Written by Oliver Styles