Qatar's sovereign wealth fund may seek a supervisory board seat and strategic partnership with Lagardere, potentially deepening its ties with the French media-to-aerospace conglomerate in which it is the biggest shareholder.
Qatar Holdings said in a letter published on Tuesday by French stock market regulator AMF it may raise its stake, but would not seek to take over the company.
Lagardere is effectively insulated from takeover by a governance structure, known as a commandite. This gives broad powers to chief executive Arnaud Lagardere.
The oil-rich emirate has been a staunch supporter of Arnaud Lagardere even though some shareholders have assailed the CEO's strategy for the company his father founded.
Qatar Holdings notified the AMF on Dec 29 it had raised its stake in Lagardere to 10.1 percent from roughly 7.6 percent.
The news boosted the shares, which slumped more than 30 percent last year as expected asset sales failed to materialise and Europe's economic woes weighed on the magazine and radio businesses that rely on advertising revenue.
Lagardere competes with Pearson Plc and Bertelsmann AG in book publishing and radio.
Also a top shareholder in Airbus parent EADS, Lagardere issued two profit warnings last year as its fledgling sports business was plagued by operational problems.
Lagardere shares were up 3.4 percent at 1241 GMT, compared with a 0.8 percent decline in France's blue-chip index.
A Paris-based trader said the Qatar fund's higher stake, and potential future partnerships, would support Lagardere shares in the short term.
"They [Qatar fund] have the money and can clearly enter into a partnership: both the sports activities and EADS could potentially interest Qataris longer term."