François Pinault


François Pinault

François Pinault (born 21 August 1936) is a billionaire [http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/10/07billionaires_The-Worlds-Billionaires_Rank_2.html The World's Billionaires - Forbes.com ] ] French businessman who runs the retail company PPR. He is a friend of former French President Jacques Chirac. According to "Forbes" List of billionaires (2008) he is ranked 39th in the world, with an estimated fortune of US$16.9 billion.

His holding company Artemis S.A., owns (or owned), among others, Converse sneakers, Samsonite luggage, the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado, and Christie's auction house. Artemis also owns Executive Life (now Aurora Life) in California, which was sued by policy holders when the company failed. [ [http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2005/02/21/51779.htm Pinault, Artemis Now Sole Defendants in Exec. Life Trial ] ] [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pr2004/005.html ] [ [http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=2245155 The Executive Life affair | A tangled web | Economist.com ] ]

Art collector

Pinault owns one of the biggest collections of contemporary art worldwide. On the magazine ArtReview's 2006 list of most powerful people in modern art, he was ranked at the first place. [ [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1922351,00.html arts.guardian.co.uk] accessed 2008-01-16] In 2006 he obtained the ownership of Palazzo Grassi in Venice to display the collection. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=P8&xml=/arts/2006/05/02/bagrassi02.xml www.telegraph.co.uk] accessed 2008-01-16]

Gucci deal

Pinault led PPR through a long battle over control of Gucci, the Italian fashion house, which began with an attempted takeover of Gucci by LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods company. In March of 1999, Gucci asked PPR to acquire an ownership interest in Gucci to help fend off LVMH. The result was a struggle between the two richest men in France, both self-made billionaires — Pinault and Bernard Arnault, the Chairman of LVMH.

The dispute ended in September 2001, when LVMH agreed to sell its shares in Gucci to PPR for $94 a share. As part of the agreement, PPR promised to tender for the balance of the publicly traded shares at a later date. It completed that buy-in in July 2004 and took full control of Gucci.

Auction house scandal

In 1998, Pinault purchased a majority share of Christie's auction house. In February 2000, A. Alfred Taubman, majority shareholder of rival company Sotheby's stepped down amidst a scandal after the Federal Bureau of Investigation had investigated commission-fixing between the two companies. Pinault was not implicated, but rather it was his actions which precipitated the scandal. He fired Christie's CEO Christopher Davidge over an allegation of extravagant spending. Davidge then admitted the collusion, which had gone on since about 1995, to Artemis' CEO Patricia Barbizet. In October 2000, Sotheby's CEO, Diana Brooks admitted her guilt in hopes of receiving a reduced sentence, and implicated Taubman. In December 2001, jurors in a high profile New York City courtroom found Taubman guilty of conspiracy. He served a year and a day in prison and Mrs. Brooks got 3 months of home confinement and a penalty of $350,000. International law permitted Christie's to avoid prosecution (other than civil penalties). [http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-944356,prtpage-1.cms ]

ee also

* French Rich List

References

External links

* [http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/10/07billionaires_Francois-Pinault_FUBG.html Forbes: "The World's Billionaires 2007"]
* [http://www.forbes.com/finance/lists/10/2004/LIR.jhtml?passListId=10&passYear=2004&passListType=Person&uniqueId=FUBG&datatype=Person Forbes.com: Forbes World's Richest People 2004]
* [http://www.fool.com/news/foolplate/2001/foolplate010910.htm "Gucci Fights Off LVMH"] - from The MotleyFool
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=P8&xml=/arts/2006/04/25/basales25.xml Telegraph: Palazzo Grassi (24/04/06)]
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=P8&xml=/arts/2006/05/02/bagrassi02.xml Telegraph: Palazzo Grassi (02/05/06)]
* [http://www.palazzograssi.it/ Palazzo Grassi Site]


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