Publishing: Vivendi renounces Editis to allow merger with Lagardère
Editis, acquired by Vivendi in 2018, brings together 53 houses in the fields of literature, education and reference works.
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French media giant Vivendi announced on Thursday July 28 that it was considering a project to sell its subsidiary Editis, number two in publishing in France, comprising houses of Plon, La Découverte, Bordas, Le Cherche Midi and Nathan. Objective: to avoid competition problems caused by the merger with the Lagardère Group, owner of the French market leader Hachette.
“Vivendi plans to complete this transaction primarily through the distribution of Editis shares to Vivendi shareholders and their simultaneous listing on the Euronext market in Paris.”, the band said in a statement. This project, which is still subject to European Commission approval, aims to allow Vivendi to take real control of Lagardère and its nugget Hachette, the third largest publishing group in the world.
Already the majority shareholder of Lagardère following the success of its public offering filed earlier this year, Vivendi currently holds only 23% of the voting rights pending approval of the group’s takeover by competition authorities. However, the prospect of a marriage between Hachette and Editis, two leading French companies, has been worrying the entire publishing industry for months.
If the project is realized, the Bolloré Group at the helm of Vivendi, in which it holds 28% of the shares, also plans to sell the shares received from the publisher to a new reference shareholder, Vivendi said.
Vivendi initially wanted to keep Editis, which it acquired for 900 million euros at the end of 2018. But he now plans to give it up to do it “To ensure the sustainability and integrity of Editis”which brings together 53 houses in the fields of literature, education and reference while allowing Vivendi “to advance his fusion project” with Lagardère, said the group’s CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine during a conference call with journalists.