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Volume 24 No. 179

Finance

Paris-based luxury goods company Kering "moved to shed most of its controlling stake" in Puma, announcing a "plan to distribute 70% of Puma’s shares to Kering shareholders," according to Matthew Dalton of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Thursday’s move "leaves Kering focused almost exclusively on luxury goods, completing a strategic shift after years of owning sportswear and lifestyle brands." The announcement marks a "turning point in a rocky, decade-long investment in Puma" engineered by Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault. Profits at Puma "fell sharply," from $324M in '07 to a low of $6.4M in '13. Over the last three years, Puma "revamped its footwear and apparel lines, sowing the seeds of recovery." Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden said that the transaction "isn’t likely to herald major shifts in strategy" for his company. Bernstein analyst Mario Ortelli said that while Kering will "keep control of 16.3% of Puma’s shares, the company is likely to sell those shares to become a pure-play luxury company" (WSJ.com, 1/11). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Dye & Massoudi noted Kering said that it would "also give" the Pinault family's holdings company Artemis a 29% stake in Puma. Artemis also owns 40.9% of Kering shares (FT.com, 1/11).