Vivendi, the parent company of Canal+ Group, has received the green light from the European Commission to proceed with the full acquisition of Lagardère, the French media, publishing and travel retail conglomerate. Vivendi previously held a 57.35% stake in Lagardere following a public tender offer held last year.
This European Commission has given its approval under Vivendi’s two proposed commitments, starting with the sale of 100% of the share capital of its publishing group Editis, as well as the full sale of Gala magazine. Vivendi said it expects to close both deals by the end of October. It entered into exclusive negotiations to sell Editis to a subsidiary of Czech Media Invest (CMI) founded by Daniel Kretinsky, in March. The Paris-based banner is home to Robert Laffont, Plon and Julliard, among others.
The European Commission had raised anti-trust concerns over Vivendi’s contemplated ownership of both Hachette and Editis, leading Vivendi to part ways with the latter.
With the acquisition of Lagardère group, Vivendi’s payroll will rise to 66,000 employees compared to 38,000 at the end of December 2022, with a stronger presence in key markets such as France, the U.K., Spain and the U.S. Lagardere is the parent company of Hachette Livre, a powerful publishing house which owns Grasset, Fayard, Stock, Le Livre de poche and Les Editions Albert René, among others.
The company said it is projecting its annual revenues to reach approximately $18 billion (€17 billion) based on 2022 results, compared to around $10.7 billion (€10 billion) today.
Lagardere’s consolidated revenue for 2022 rose by nearly 29% to $7.42 billion, and recurring EBIT reached $470 million — compared with $267 million in 2021.
“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,” said Yannick Bolloré, Vivendi supervisory board chairman.
Arnaud de Puyfontaine, Vivendi’s CEO, said, “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.”
“We are 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,” de Puyfontaine continued.