Last year, the 49-year-old Bollore took aim at Michel David-Weill, the legendary chairman of the Lazard Freres & Co. investment banking group. Bollore had the audacity--and the shrewdness--to build up a huge stake in a thinly traded holding company at the top of the Lazard empire.
Bollore was bought out last year at a $260 million profit. Now, the unflappable Breton has put $130 million into Milan's Mediobanca and taken a stake in a Peugeot family company that controls France's second-largest car group.
Bollore says he spends most of his time managing his $5 billion transportation and engineering group. "From time to time the group has a little spare cash we can put to use in the stock market," he says. That's one way of describing some of Europe's most spectacularly profitable corporate raids.