Keyword: Borletti Group

How Qatar bagged Printemps while taking French law for window-dressing

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 © Reuters © Reuters

The Printemps department store chain, one of France’s oldest and most famous, was last week bought by a Qatari investment fund for a reported 1.75 billion euros after months of secret negotiations with the group’s principal shareholders and amid bitter opposition by unions representing its staff of 3,000. France’s competition regulator gave the green light despite a preliminary investigation opened in June by the Paris public prosecutor’s office into allegations that the transaction process involved fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. In this opinion article, Mediapart economy and finance specialist Martine Orange argues that the deal illustrates the recurrent impotence of  French law, and the unwillingness of government, to effectively rein in the excesses of rich and powerful wheeler-dealers.

Paris, Printemps and predatory finance

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The famous Printemps department store on the boulevard Haussmann in Paris (pictured) is up for sale. On the surface it is just another routine high-end Paris property transaction. But behind the scenes, reveals Mediapart, one of the current owners is preparing a 'predatory' financial deal that would see a handful of its top executives walk away with up to 500 million euros. Meanwhile the real cost of the sale will fall on the department store's staff, who could be left without a job or put on less secure work contracts. Martine Orange reports.