French publishing and media giant Vivendi is considering a plan to sell its subsidiary Editis, number two in publishing in France, to avoid competition problems created by its merger with the Lagardère Group, owners of French market leader Hachette, it announced on July 28 in a press release following the presentation of its half-year results.
“To avoid potential concentration problems with the Lagardère group, Vivendi will study a project to sell its subsidiary Editis outright, mainly through a distribution list.”the group said in a statement. “Vivendi plans to conduct this transaction mainly through the distribution of Editis shares to Vivendi shareholders and their simultaneous listing on the Euronext market in Paris,” is it stated.
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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.
Contacted by weekly books, Hachette’s management is not commenting on the situation at this time.
“No more connection between Vivendi and Editis”
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.
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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.
At the end of the operation there is “no more connections between the Vivendi group and the Editis group”he said.
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