Bubble Trouble

Hot off the press our special correspondent Jimmy the Snake sent in this article, which is very topical given that we are heading to the home of the most special of sparkling wines this weekend….

French industrial patriotism is in danger of descending into farce, with reports that Paris wants to keep Taittinger out of foreign hands (Belgian). After all, this is one company where the owner – foreign or otherwise – can’t take production offshore…..

A little too effervescent

Taittinger: It is well known that too much champagne can make people do silly things. The French government may have been quaffing a few too many magnums, if a report in Les Echos is to be believed. It says that the administration would like to find “a French solution” to the sale of Taittinger, a premier brand of bubbly.

It is all a bit giddy. After all, the current owner is Starwood, a US private equity fund. And the proposed buyer is Albert Frere, who is a Belgian with very close connections to the French business establishment. From the outside, it would seem that a deal would bring the company closer to home. It would also be more than a bit tactless, when the French Suez is trying to buy out Electrabel, one of the largest Belgian companies.

It is hard to see what the risk is from foreign ownership. After all, this is a company that simply cannot move production offshore – unless its new owners want to rechristen as a “gassy wine drink”. But the logic of industrial patriotism is always hard to fathom, at least by sober economists.
Author : Edward Hadas

And I might add, the French are famous for logic and only being able to see things from a certain gallic perspective…..

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