Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the daughter of L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt (pictured), has denied the family is looking to sell its 31% stake in the company to Switzerland-based food giant Nestle.
Bettencourt-Meyers announced her continued support of the cosmetic giant, founded by her grandfather in 1909, in a statement from her lawyer to Reuters news agency. It said that Bettencourt Meyers "wished to express her wish, and that of her family, to continue to accompany with responsibility and engagement L'Oreal's future development."
It went on to deny reports in a UK newspaper that Bettencourt Meyers was in talks with Nestle to sell the family's share as a result of the current legal battle between Bettencourt Meyers and her 87-year-old mother. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)
"Pretending that Francoise Bettencourt Meyers would have initiated the current legal proceedings with the secret aim of selling the family holding to Nestle as quickly as possible, is judicial nonsense," it said.
Bettencourt Meyers claims photographer Francois-Marie Banier manipulated her mother into parting with gifts, cheques and life insurance policies and questions her mother's mental health. Her mother asserts she is in full command of her facilities and had the right to share her fortune with her friend. The case is due to conclude in July.
Nestle already holds a 30% stake in L'Oreal, but signed an agreement with the family in 2004 stating it would not increase that share further until at least six months after the death of Liliane Bettencourt.
L'Oreal recorded 2008 revenues of €17 billion and Bettencourt herself is worth an estimated €13 billion.
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