The Champagne House, based in Reims, was founded in 1734 by the champagne merchant Jacques Fourneaux and is the second oldest after Ruinart. The cellars of the former Saint-Nicaise Abbey date from the 13th century. The company was bought in 1931 by Pierre-Charles Taittinger (of Austrian origin) together with his brother-in-law. He enlarged the property through extensive purchases. From 1942 to 1960 François Taittinger, after his death Claude Taittinger (*1927) managed the company. In 2005, two thirds of the entire company, which in addition to champagne production also included several hotels (including the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris), was sold to the US public company Starwood due to inheritance disputes. Just one year later, however, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger (Claude Taittinger's nephew) bought back the champagne production with the help of a banking consortium for the sum of 660 million euros, not least because of his emotional attachment to the company. Since 2006 he has been responsible as managing director. Virginie Taittinger, Claude Taittinger's daughter, is also active in the management team.