Clutching her handbag, Dominique, a petite 73-year-old woman, slips through the arrivals. Thursday January 11, at the Maison de la Mutualité, in Paris, she was invited at 10 a.m. to the meeting of the shareholders of the Casino group, the seventh and last group of deficits called to vote on the safeguard plan for a group in great financial difficulty . Place “to have more information”, Dominique does not yet know if she will “vote for or against” arriving. But she is sure of one thing: “I’m not going to get anything back at all”, she whispered. Whatever the outcome of this vote, current shareholders will be heavily diluted – they will only hold 0.3%.
Because this formal vote, in addition to the crushing of the debt, ratifies the sacrifice of the shareholders (first and foremost including Jean-Charles Naouri, the owner and president of Casino, who goes from 51% of the capital to almost nothing ). The result of the vote will be known on Friday January 12 before the opening of the Paris Stock Exchange, but that will not change anything.
Subsequently, a hearing at the commercial court on February 5, then the end of the accelerated safeguard procedure on February 25, will lead to the definitive takeover of the company by the takeover consortium led by the man. Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky, billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, and the British fund Attestor.
“Stock marketer for thirty years”Dominique knows that“with the stock market, there are risks”. And she is especially angry with Nicolas Miguet – the press publisher targeted by a preliminary investigation for suspicion of manipulation of the stock price –, on whose advice she bought a thousand shares three years ago for around 30 euros (the price closed Thursday at 0.57 euros). She does not spare Mr. Naouri either, who, according to her, “didn’t say it was getting worse and worse”.
He was also absent, but represented by his financial director, David Lubek, during this gathering organized and chaired by the judicial administrators. The takeover consortium was notably represented by Philippe Palazzi, as future general director of the group.
As if they announce the death of a loved one
A bit as if they were announcing the death of a loved one to their family, everyone took care to weigh their words in each of their interventions in front of the 75 individual shareholders who, like Dominique, had registered, out of 150 registered.
“I understand the anger and disappointment”, “I share the disappointment of the shareholders”“ painful and sensitive meeting for many of you. We are aware of it”… “This is a rescue plan, but we are talking about the bankruptcy of a group and the shareholders are on the front line”made M understande Hélène Bourbouloux, one of the judicial administrators. “It’s not a general meeting, as usual”an M addede Aurélia Perderau, its consumer.
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