Insurance company becomes second largest Fnac-Darty shareholder

Insurance company becomes second largest Fnac-Darty shareholder

There has been yet another thorough shake-up among Fnac Darty’s shareholders. The merger company, which owns Belgian electronics chain Vanden Borre and Dutch retailer BCC, will now welcome insurance company SFAM, after it bought investment fund Knight Vinke’s shares.


Merry-go-round among shareholders

Fnac, led by current Carrefour CEO Alexandre Bompard, acquired electronics chain Darty in 2016 after a fierce (and expensive) battle against Conforama. Ever since, the merger company altered its board and its group of shareholders has also undergone changes.


It all started with Artemis, the Pinault family’s investment holding. The family, which also owns luxury group Kering, with brands like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney, used to own 24 % of Fnac-Darty, but sold it for 452 million euro to Germany CEConomy (the group that owns Media Markt and Saturn, created from the demerger of German trade group Metro Group last year).


It has now been revealed that Knight Vinke, Eric Knight’s activist investment fund, sold his 11 % stake for 335 million euro to French insurance company SFAM. He was previously part of Darty’s board and was even one of the first to back the Fnac acquisition. SFAM is one of the largest specialists in insurance policies and guarantees for smartphones, tablets and other multimedia devices, which obviously presents several business opportunities.


All eyes are now on the company’s third major shareholder, French media group Vivendi. Entrepreneur Vincent Bolloré’s group has an 11 % stake in Fnac-Darty and once joined Fnac to help Bompard acquire Darty, but said he would “keep all options open” after Bompard moved to Carrefour. He considers this stake to be a “non-strategic participation”, so to be continued…