Lacoste family at war over a mooted sale to the Swiss

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The Independent Online

The family behind Lacoste, the famous French casualwear brand, is at war over the possible sale of the label to Swiss investors.

Michel Lacoste, the son of tennis ace René, agreed to sell his stake to Swiss giant Maus Frères, which already owns 35 per cent of the group and its licensing business Devanlay, last month.

But his daughter Sophie Lacoste-Dournel, pictured, who took over as chairman in September against her father's wishes, wants to keep control of the brand. Michel, a former chairman, and his niece Beryl have agreed the sale of 30.3 per cent of the company for €400m (£320m) to Maus.

But the family's shareholding structure means Sophie has a pre-emptive right to buy the stake and has until 12 November to raise the money and keep the business in the family.

The crisis is the latest chapter in a long-running family feud over the future of the business.

Lacoste was founded in 1933 by René. It sells more than 13.8 million polo shirts a year.