Carlyle to exit Le Figaro

Carlyle is reported to have reached a deal with Dassault to dispose of its 40 per cent stake in the French daily.

The Carlyle Group has agreed to the sale of its 40 per cent stake in Le Figaro, according to eFinancial News. The buyer is reported to be Groupe Industrial Marcel Dassault, a holding company of Serge Dassault. The price for the stake has not been disclosed. 

Carlyle acquired its holding in Le Figaro in June 1999, outbidding Dassault and Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH. The firm had originally hoped to proceed with an IPO of Le Figaro within three to five years of the original deal when it bought its 40 per cent holding with a combination of convertible bonds and E26.5m in equity. However the sale to Dassault is still likely to yield a good return.

The purchase was made from Carlyle’s E1bn European buyout fund and this deal will represent Carlyle’s first exit from the fund.

Last month, Dassault reportedly paid E340m for a 30 per cent stake in Socpresse, a company that owns 60 per cent of Le Figaro and a network of regional newspapers including Progres and Dauphiné in the south-east of France.

No-one was available for comment at Carlyle Group, although confirmation of the deal is expected later this week.