UPDATE 1-Amber Capital looks to oust supervisory board of France’s Lagardere

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PARIS, March 26 () – Activist fund Amber Capital stepped up pressure on French media company Lagardere on Thursday, saying it would look to change the firm’s supervisory board and urging it to review its strategy.

Amber Capital, which holds about 16.4% of Lagardere’s share capital, said it would present its own list of new supervisory board members at Lagardere’s annual shareholder meeting on May 5.

Among the candidates are Italian political figure Enrico Letta and Brigitte Taittinger, who holds directorships at HSBC France, FNAC Darty and Suez.

“By voting for a new supervisory board, Lagardère shareholders will give the group the means to free up the driving forces of the publishing and travel retail divisions and allow all stakeholders to benefit,” Amber Capital said in a statement.

Lagardere’s shares are down by about 50% so far in 2020. The company’s travel retail business has been hurt by the coronavirus-driven collapse in global travel demand, and earlier this week Lagardere scrapped its financial guidance.

Amber Capital added it wanted Lagardere to review its dividend policy and suspend its 2020 dividend to strengthen its liquidity and cash profile, as companies around the globe come under pressure due to the pandemic. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Aditya Soni)

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