PARIS Oct 5 France will not rule out buying
shares from Lagardere that would raise its stake in a
merger of EADS and BAE, a French government
source said on Friday, raising the prospect of a deal-breaking
clash with Britain.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, doubted a
deal could be reached on the planned mega-merger of the European
aerospace group and UK defence firm by an Oct. 10 regulatory
deadline and expected that date to be extended by 28 days.
"The governments of France, Germany and Britain still
disagree concerning the level of German and French stakes but
discussions are continuing," said the source, adding: "This is a
normal phase in the negotiations."
Speaking on the margins of a summit in Malta, French
President Francois Hollande signalled that the companies
involved would have to take into account the views of the
"We have said what we consider to be the conditions,"
Hollande told reporters at a summit of North African and
European countries. "After that it's up to the companies to
continue their talks or negotiations knowing France's position."
France already has a 15 percent stake in EADS and the
government source said it "wishes to give itself the option" of
purchasing a 7.5 percent stake in EADS which diversified holding
company Lagardere wants to sell.
Britain in particular wants France to forego that right in
order to make the deal more presentable to authorities in the
United States, where BAE earns nearly half of its revenue.