A Czech billionaire candidate for the 100% takeover of Editis

Editis could pass into the hands of a Czech businessman. Media tycoon Daniel Kretinsky has submitted an offer to Vivendi to fully acquire France’s second-largest publishing group, the daily said on Monday. Le Figaro.

The French media giant Vivendi is forced to sell Editis, which brings together more than fifty houses (Robert Laffont, Plon, Julliard, etc.), to take control of the Hachette group, a subsidiary of Lagardère in which it owns 57% of the capital. In the coming days, he must present his final proposal for “remedies” to the European competition authorities, who are examining the consequences of these operations on the publishing and magazine press sector.

Numerous investments in the French media

The Czech tycoon has accelerated his investments in French media in recent years through his press group CMI France (Elle, TV 7 days, Marianne). He is also a co-shareholder of Mondebailed out Release worth 15 million euros and owns more than 5% of the TF1 group.

According Le Figaro, “three other offers” have been submitted by the Italian media group Mondadori, owned by Silvio Berlusconi, its Canadian counterpart Quebecor, and the French group Reworld. Other investors previously mentioned, such as producer Stéphane Courbit (Banijay), entrepreneur Pierre-Edouard Stérin or billionaire Xavier Niel, would no longer be in the race.

An extra week of reflection

Since the summer, Vivendi has favored a listing-distribution operation through which the Bolloré group, reference shareholder of the media giant, has undertaken to sell its stake. For Bolloré, Vivendi’s reference shareholder with 29.5% of the shares, this method has the advantage of better valuing its share of Editis and of capturing the profit directly, on the model of the IPO of Universal Music Group in 2021.

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Booksellers and authors’ representatives, who fear too much concentration in the sector, are instead pleading for a 100% sale which would give the buyer the means to weigh in against Hachette, a track also favored by Brussels, which launched in the fall a thorough investigation into the operation and must render its decision by May 23.

On March 8, Vivendi still affirmed “to continue discussions” with the European Commission, and to give itself an additional week to respond to the statement of objections sent by the authority. “The low price level” then proposed by the potential buyers had forced the group to devalue its subsidiary by 300 million euros, which it had acquired in 2019 for 829 million euros, which had helped to reduce its loss. net, to more than one billion euros in 2022.

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