The French government is pushing for a domestic buyer for Taittinger's Champagne operations, according to local reports. Les Echos said yesterday (14 September) that members of the Taittinger family have met with government officials, Taittinger's investment fund owner Starwood Capital and Credit Agricole du Nord Est with a view to creating a solution around the French regional bank, the newspaper said. No sources were cited in the claim.

The current frontrunner for Taittinger, Belgian financier Albert Frere, has said that he expects to make an offer for the company's Champagne operations, which Starwood Capital has suggested it plans to sell.

The newspaper added that Starwood may find it difficult to resist an offer from the cash-rich Frere.