Billionaire Arnault Buys Influence Through Media Deals in France

(Bloomberg) — As billionaire Bernard Arnault made global headlines last month for his attempt to extricate his luxury empire LVMH from a $16 billion deal to buy U.S. jeweler Tiffany & Co., a smaller transaction by Europe’s wealthiest man back home in France went largely unnoticed.

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Arnault’s investment group acquired a more than 5% stake in Lagardere SCA, once a sprawling conglomerate covering everything from cars and planes to space that’s now focused on media, publishing and retail outlets at airports and train stations. The purchase is a precursor to Arnault’s group playing a greater role in those activities, people familiar with discussions at the two companies said.

Why would Arnault, known as France’s most successful investment banker after he shrewdly acquired an armada of luxury brands — from Dior and Fendi to Louis Vuitton, Hennessy Cognac and Dom Perignon Champagne — want a piece of a struggling

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France Maps Out Lower Electric-Car Subsidies Ahead

(Bloomberg) — France will gradually cut hybrid and electric-car subsidies in the coming years, posing a risk to the segment that’s growing but still remains a relatively small portion of the market.

The government plans to decrease an incentive to buy electric cars from 7,000 euros ($8,160) this year, to 6,000 euros next year and 5,000 euros in 2022, according to a budget plan unveiled Monday by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. The state handout for hybrid rechargeable vehicles will be halved to 1,000 euros next year.

A separate incentive for low-income households switching to electric vehicles will be pegged at 3,000 euros, lower than the cash-for-clunkers subsidy that was offered for a couple of months earlier this year.

“We have backed the auto industry while at the same time accelerated the lowering of carbon emissions,” Le Maire said.

Electric vehicles made up 6.1% of the French market during the

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Zoetemelk hit by car 40 years after winning Tour de France

PARIS — The 1980 Tour de France champion Joop Zoetemelk was hit by a car while riding his bike on Sunday, and hospitalized with leg and arm fractures, the French press reported.

The accident happened in the Seine-et-Marne region, east of Paris, where the 73-year-old Zoetemelk has lived for decades. It occurred on the final day of this year’s Tour, cycling’s most prestigious race, which was won by Tadej Pogacar.

The Tour tweeted that Zoetemelk was transported by helicopter to the hospital.

Zoetemelk was the second Dutchman to win the Tour after Jan Janssen in 1968.

Ahead of this year’s edition, Zoetemelk told the daily Le Parisien that he continued riding several times a week on 60-kilometer (37-mile) stints.

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France, Sweden Confirm Novichok Poisoning In Alexei Navalny Case: Germany

Alexei Navalny fell ill on a domestic flight last month and was treated in a Siberian hospital.

Berlin, Germany:

The German government said Monday that laboratories in France and Sweden have confirmed its own findings that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement that Germany had asked France and Sweden “for an independent review of the German evidence (of Novichok poisoning) on the basis of new samples from Mr Navalny,” who is receiving treatment in Berlin.

“The results of this review at specialised laboratories in France and Sweden are now available and confirm the German evidence (of Novichok poisoning),” Seibert said.

He said Germany was still waiting for the outcome of a separate evaluation by the OPCW global chemical weapons watchdog.

On the basis of the findings by the three European laboratories, however, Seibert said

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