Vivendi takeover bid on Lagardère: what interests Vincent Bolloré

We talked about it here even last week on the occasion of the bicentenary of his group, Vincent Bolloré was in principle to hand over to his two sons, Yannick and Cyrille. But it was bad to know the Breton businessman, renowned in the business world for his resounding blows, he will therefore be well maneuvering in this stock market operation. Vivendi – which it controls – and which is already Lagardère’s leading shareholder with 45% of the capital, intends to buy back all the shares it does not yet hold to become full owners. A takeover bid “friendly” who has the support of Arnaud Lagardère himself, convinced that “integrity” of his group will be “preserved”.

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In the event of the success of its expected takeover bid on Monday, February 21, Vivendi will already offer itself Lagardère’s media division, the most visible, with big names such as Europe 1, Paris Match and the Sunday newspaper. Vincent Bolloré, who owns Canal+, C8 and CNews, did not wait for the launch of his takeover bid to bring into play the synergies between his conservative news channel and Europe 1, causing the departure of many journalists from the radio. Lagardère is also publishing through Hachette, the French leader in the sector with Grasset, Fayard and Calmann-Lévy, but also and above all number three internationally, where it achieves the bulk of its turnover. business. It is also in publishing that Bolloré has the most ambitions, he would see himself making it the second leg of Vivendi, alongside television. And then there is the commercial activity in stations and airports, better known under the brand “Relay”losing momentum with the Covid, but which could be sold once recovered.

Why does Lagardère’s edition make Vivendi, and therefore Vincent Bolloré, salivate so much? First of all because it is complementary to Editis, its own publishing house, number two in France with Juilliard, Plon, or even Le Cherche Midi. And because it is very profitable, much more than Lagardère’s media.
Last year, Hachette generated record results, thanks in particular to France where the publisher passed the milestone of one billion euros in turnover, driven, among other things, by the success of the latest Asterix. Hachette, a nugget whose sale to Bolloré worries part of the profession which fears a dismantling. Not to mention that it risks attracting the wrath of the competition authorities: together, Hachette and Editis would weigh almost half of the French publishing market, with peaks of 60 or even 70% in school and extracurricular , but we are not there yet.

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