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Activist fund manager Bluebell seeks Richemont board changes

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ZURICH — Activist fund manager Bluebell Capital Partners has asked Compagnie Financiere Richemont to broaden representation on its board of directors, the Swiss luxury group said https://www.richemont.com/en/home/media/press-releases-and-news/request-for-agenda-items on Tuesday.

Bluebell wants the company to designate a representative of the holders of ‘A’ shares and elect that representative to the board, the maker of Cartier jewelry and IWC watches said.

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Bluebell also seeks to increase the minimal number of board members to six and to have ‘A’ and ‘B’ shareholders have an equal number of representatives on the board.

The proposals will be submitted at the annual general meeting on Sept. 7. Richemont said it was reviewing the proposals and would comment on them in due course.

Richemont shares were indicated 1.3% higher in premarket trade.

Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox was skeptical that big changes were coming.

“Richemont’s shareholder structure, giving ten times the voting rights to holders of the B shares, looks out of date compared with more modern governance practices,” he said.

“However, the share structure itself means that any change in the makeup of the board will be decided by (Chairman) Johann Rupert and probably not by Bluebell.”

Richemont has 522 million “A” shares, listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange, and the same number of “B” shares, which are not listed and represent 9.1% of its equity. The B shares are held by Compagnie Financière Rupert, according to the company website. (Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by Rachel More and Louise Heavens)


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