The French media group Vivendi announced on Tuesday, November 21, the finalization of its merger with its rival Lagardère, of which it owns “around 60%” capital and “can now fully exercise a little more than 50% of the voting rights”according to a press release.
The operation, which began several years ago, brings the group controlled by the Bolloré family into a new dimension. Vivendi becomes “a world leader in publishing” thanks to the acquisition of Hachette Livre and distribution in stations and airports (travel retail), while getting their hands on several national media (The Sunday Journal, Paris MatchEurope 1).
“This merger is effective following the finalization of the two transfers to which Vivendi has committed to the European Commission”in this case that of the Editis publishing group at International Media Invest, a subsidiary of the holding Czech Media Invest of Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, carried out on November 14, and that of the magazine Gala to the Figaro group finalized on Tuesday, explains Vivendi in its press release.
“A chance for our two groups”
In total, Vivendi goes from 38,000 employees to “around 66,000 employees present on all continents”and its turnover would increase, on a basis comparable to that of 2022, by 72%, to amount to 16.5 billion euros, it is specified.
“ It is with immense pride that we welcome Lagardère to our group. Their remarkable performances bear witness to the excellence and commitment of all the teams led by Arnaud Lagardère”declared Yannick Bolloré, chairman of the supervisory board of Vivendi, in a press release.
“This rapprochement is an opportunity for our two groups. The alliance of our know-how marks a new stage in our strategic ambition of transformation, internationalization and integration, and propels us towards the future”he said.
In an interview with FigaroYannick Bolloré declared that he will soon join the board of directors of his new subsidiary. “We also want to keep Lagardère listed on the stock exchange: the challenge for us is to maximize value for all stakeholders, including investors”he added.
Vivendi also extended by eighteen months, on Monday, the deadline to acquire up to approximately 22% of the additional capital of Lagardère, through a transfer rights mechanism initiated during its takeover bid for the group in 2022.
The group, already owner of Canal+ and the Havas group, however remains threatened by an investigation by Brussels into a possible anticipated takeover of its target, an offense which, if confirmed, would not call into question the acquisition, but could cost it up to 10% of its total turnover.
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