French media conglomerate Lagardère on Dec. 26 signed an agreement with French investment fund Butler Capital Partners to sell a majority stake in Groupe Virgin, which operates Virgin retail stores in France.

The sale covers 47 retail stores in France, including 12 branded "Furet du Nord" outlets and online entertainment retailer VirginMega. The sale should be effective by early 2008. Although financial details of the deal were not disclosed, unconfirmed reports suggest the value of the transaction is just under €100 million ($147 million).

Virgin employs 1,900 people for yearly global revenue approaching €400 million ($588 million), according to a statement issued by Lagardère. It also operates a dozen franchises abroad, which generate around €100 million in sales each year.

Billboard.biz understands that Butler Capital will own 80% of Virgin, with Lagardère keeping the remaining 20%, and that Virgin's current management team should shortly take a share in the company.

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