Lagardere sells £2bn stake in Airbus parent

THE FRENCH media group Lagardere has sold its 7.4 per cent stake in Airbus parent EADS, kicking off a long-expected overhaul in the ownership of Europe’s top aircraft maker.

Lagardere raised around £2bn through the sale, with EADS spending €500m (£427m) to buy 1.6 per cent of its own shares – a buyback below some analysts’ expectations.

The global coordinator and bookrunners, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Societe Generale, placed 61.1m EADS shares at €37.35 apiece, sources said.

The deal catapulted Bank of America Merrill Lynch to the top of the league table for block trades in Europe, the middle east and Africa, according to the latest figures from Dealogic.

The bank knocked UBS, which has had an encouraging start to the year in this market, into second place.

Sources said that 95 per cent of the stock had been placed by the close of trading last night.

Block trades have caused controversy recently when banks have bid aggressively for stock and then ended up being unable to distribute it.

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