Lagardere replaces books unit chief amid control battle


PARIS, March 29 (Reuters) - French media group Lagardere LAGA.PA has replaced the head of its books unit, amid a battle for control of the firm between two French billionaires.

Lagardère said in a statement on Monday it had appointed Lagardere executive Pierre Leroy as CEO of Hachette Livre, replacing Arnaud Nourry, who it said had decided leave on an amicable basis.

The appointment comes amid a confrontation between founding family Lagardere and hedge fund Amber Capital, with each side backed by competing French billionaires.

Vivendi VIV.PA, a media group controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore, has teamed up with Amber and bought a large minority stake in Lagardere, while French luxury goods group LVMH LVMH.PA chief Bernard Arnault has invested in Arnaud Lagardere's family office.

French media have reported that Hachette Livre - which includes more than 150 publishing houses worldwide and had 2020 sale of close to 2.4 billion euros ($2.83 billion) - was being eyed by Vivendi, which already owns Hachette competitor Editis.

In an interview with French daily Le Monde last week, Nourry said that Hachette should stay within Lagardere and that linking up with Editis made no strategic sense.

($1 = 0.8493 euros)

(Reporting by Marc Angrand, writing by GV De Clercq, editing by Susan Fenton)

((; +33 1 4949 5343; Reuters Messaging: Twitter: @gvdeclercq))

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