Sunday, July 21, 2024

Vivendi Media & Entertainment Empire Set For Major Expansion As European Commission Approves Lagardère Acquisition

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The European Commission has given the greenlight for French conglom Vivendi’s acquisition of the Lagardère Group.

The acquisition will make the Paris-based group one of the biggest media and entertainment groups in Europe, on a par with Germany giant Bertelsmann.

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Key Lagardère assets include the Hachette publishing group, prestigious weekly magazine Paris Match, the radio station Europe 1 and newspaper kiosk chain Relay.

The approval is contingent on the conglom honoring commitments to sell 100% of its share capital in French publishing house Editis as well as the full sale of celebrity magazine Gala, which currently published under the umbrella of Vivendi’s Prisma Group.

In its press release, Vivendi recalled it had entered into a put option agreement for Editis with Czech mogul Daniel Kretinsky’s International Media Invest on April 23 2023, and noted there was strong interest in Gala too.

Vivendi said it was confident that it would be able to finalize these two transactions by the end of October and that the operation would give it a “new dimension”.

“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 US. Annual revenues are projected to reach approximately €17 billion based on 2022 results, compared to around €10 billion today,” it said.

It added that the Lagardère group’s integrity would be preserved, and Arnaud Lagardère would continue to serve as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Yannick Bolloré, Chairman of the Vivendi Supervisory Board, said: “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.”

Vivendi’s bid to acquire Lagardère began in early 2020, at a time when the once powerful group was going through a financial crisis, which was then exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group took a 57% stake in Lagardère last year but had been waiting for the EC sign-off to finalize its takeover.

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