In France, Vivendi’s Acquisition of Lagardère Approved

In News by Porter Anderson

Having satisfied the European Commission’s antitrust requirements, Vivendi says, it’s on course to acquire Lagardère and its Hachette Livre.

At Vivendi’s headquarters in Paris. Image: Vivendi

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Editis Sale Expected to Close by October
After weathering the European Commission’s antitrust concerns about its proposed ownership of both Hachette Livre and Editis, Vivendi has announced it has approval for its acquisition of Lagardère, the parent company of Hachette Livre.

Prior to the approval specified on Friday (June 9), the company agreed to sell its interest in Editis, negotiating with Czech Media Invest to divest itself of Editis by October—when the French media powerhouse says it’s “confident” that it can close its acquisition of Lagardère. Also to be sold is Vivendi’s magazine, Gala.

As Vivendi puts its understanding of the EC’s requirement, “This approval is contingent upon the completion of Vivendi’s two proposed commitments, i.e. the sale of 100 percent of [Vivendi’s] share capital of Editis, for which the group entered into a put option agreement with [Czech] International Media Invest a.s. on April 23, as well as the full sale of the Gala magazine, which has already attracted significant interest.

“Vivendi is confident that it can finalize these two transactions by the end of October.”

In its announcement, Vivendi goes over how these projected moves will affect its workforce levels, writing, “With the addition of the Lagardère group, Vivendi will now have some 66,000 employees compared to 38,000 at the end of December 2022, with a stronger presence in key markets such as France, the United Kingdom, Spain and the United States.

Annual revenues are projected to reach approximately €17 billion (US$18.3 billion), based on 2022 results, compared to around €10 billion today (US$10.7 billion).

Commentary from Vivendi to the news media about its acquisition of Lagardère says, “This transaction will align with the group’s strategic objective to expand its international presence and will enable it to become the world’s third-largest publisher in the trade and educational markets, while also integrating a new and rapidly growing activity, travel retail.

“The backing of a large and stable shareholder like Vivendi will allow Lagardère to accelerate its development and provide even more opportunities to its employees around the world. The Lagardère group’s integrity will be preserved, and Arnaud Lagardère will continue to serve as its chairman and CEO.

Yannick Bolloré

In a prepared statement, Vivendi supervisory board chair Yannic Bolloré says, “The European Commission’s decision is excellent news for Vivendi which will now be able to successfully carry out its ambitious development plan with the Lagardère group.

“The transaction will align with our strategic ambition to internationalize our activities and our determination to be a leading global player in culture and entertainment.

“We would like to thank Arnaud Lagardère for his unwavering confidence in our project, and we look forward to meeting all the group’s talents in the near future.”

Arnaud de Puyfontaine

And Arnaud de Puyfontaine, Vivendi’s CEO, says, “This transaction will be profoundly transformative for our two groups.

“We fully intend to play to our respective strengths to write together a new page in the history of our companies.

“W’re eager to see the teams of our two groups pool their know-how and capitalize on their respective complementarities to accelerate the development of our activities and provide exciting new perspectives to the many talents who have placed their trust in us.”

In Elsa Keslassy’s report for Variety, we read, “Lagardére’s consolidated revenue for 2022 rose by nearly 29 percent to $7.42 billion, and recurring EBIT reached $470 million—compared with $267 million in 2021.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on mergers and acquisitions is here, more on France’s market is here, and more in our series of Industry Notes is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.