The French media giant Vivendi announced on Tuesday the finalization of its merger with its rival Lagardèreof which he holds nearly 60% of the capital and in which he “can now fully exercise a little more than 50% of the voting rights”.
With this operation begun several years ago, the group controlled by the Bolloré family is changing dimension. Vivendi notably becomes “a world leader in publishing” thanks to the acquisition of Hachette Livre, the leading French publisher and third worldwide, he welcomes in a press release. It also obtains a distribution network in train stations and airports (Relay stores, Duty Free stores). Finally, he got his hands on several national media (JDD, Paris Match, Europe 1), and famous performance halls (Casino de Paris, Folies Bergère, etc.).
“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 publishing group Editis to International Media Invest of the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, carried out on November 14, and that of Gala magazine to the Figaro group finalized on Tuesday, explains Vivendi in its press release.
In total, Vivendi goes from 38,000 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 16.5 billion euros, it is specified.
“Our activities complement each other perfectly”
“This rapprochement is an opportunity for our two groups. (…) Our activities, both in terms of product portfolio and geographic location, complement each other perfectly,” declared the chairman of Vivendi’s supervisory board, Yannick Bolloré, quoted in the press release, who assures that he wants to preserve “the integrity” of the Lagardère group.
In an interview with Le Figaro with his father Vincent and Arnaud Lagardère, CEO of the group that bears his name, Yannick Bolloré indicated 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 the value for all stakeholders, including investors,” he added.
Vivendi also extended on Monday by 18 months the deadline to acquire up to around 22% of the additional capital of Lagardère, via 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 infringement which, if confirmed, would not call into question the acquisition, but could cost it up to 10% of its total turnover.