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SAATCHIS BLOCK LOUIS-DREYFUS MOVE AT ADIDAS

By Published on .

LONDON-A High Court order granting Maurice and Charles Saatchi's request to stop former Saatchi & Saatchi Co. Chief Executive Robert Louis-Dreyfus from buying more Adidas stock has Saatchi watchers scratching their heads.

Why don't the brothers want Mr. Louis-Dreyfus to buy more shares in Adidas, the company he joined in April 1993 as chairman of the executive board?

The Saatchis and their attorneys aren't talking, and Mr. Louis-Dreyfus was unavailable for comment.

Further, the court file has disappeared. "We don't know where it is," said Timothy Macaire, a High Court associate who had the file briefly. He recalled that in the court order, issued July 7, Messrs. Louis-Dreyfus and Christian Tourres, a member of Adidas' executive board, agreed not to buy more Adidas shares.

At the time Mr. Louis-Dreyfus led an investors group in taking over Adidas with a sizable minority stake, the Saatchi brothers apparently made small personal investments, separate from Saatchi & Saatchi Co.

One possible explanation for the court order: The Saatchi brothers expect to exercise an option to buy more Adidas shares. What if, the speculation goes, the brothers and Mr. Louis-Dreyfus had a falling out? Would Mr. Louis-Dreyfus change his mind about a bigger stake for the Saatchis?

It's not known whether there has been a falling out between the brothers and Mr. Louis-Dreyfus, who's still on the Saatchi board. But Mr. Louis-Dreyfus is believed to have sided with his successor, Charles Scott-rather than Maurice Saatchi-in a recent board-room imbroglio.

"It does sound as if there's something acrimonious there," said one London analyst. "Usually, if the chief executive wants to buy shares in the company he's involved in, it's considered a good sign."

Juliana Koranteng in London and Dagmar Mussey in Duesseldorf contributed to this story.

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