After more than a year of legal battles in European courts, Schneider plans to sell its 98.1 percent stake in Legrand SA, Limoges, France, by implementing the sale contract it signed in July with the KKR-Wendel Investissement consortium, New York.
Schneider first announced its intentions to acquire Legrand SA in January 2001. However, the European courts had two concerns about the bid: its impact on competition in the French electrical market, and the Legrand management team's decision to not support the merger.
Because of the potential that the European courts might veto the deal over these concerns, Schneider began developing an alternate plan to sell its stake in Legrand to KKR-Wendel Investissement.
In late November, the European Commission overturned an appeal issued by the European Court of First Instance that would have cleared the way for Schneider to keep all or part of Legrand.
Schneider disagreed with the European Commission's demands in this decision concerning asset disposals (companies, production assets, brands), and said they were “disproportionate to the aim of maintaining competition in the French market,” according to a company release.