Editis could pass into the hands of a Czech businessman. Media mogul Daniel Kretinsky has filed an offer with Vivendi to acquire the second largest French publishing group in its entirety, Le Figaro said Monday.
The French media giant Vivendi is forced to sell Editis, which brings together more than fifty houses (Robert Laffont, Plon, Julliard ...), to take control of the Hachette group, a subsidiary of Lagardère of which it owns 57% of the capital. In the coming days, it is due to present its final proposal for "remedies" to the European competition authorities, which are examining the consequences of these operations on the publishing and magazine press sector.
Numerous investments in French media
The Czech tycoon has accelerated his investments in the French media in recent years via his press group CMI France (Elle, Télé 7 jours, Marianne). He is also a co-shareholder of Le Monde, bailed out Libération to the tune of 15 million euros and owns more than 5% of the TF1 group.
According to 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 favoured a listing and distribution operation through which the Bolloré group, the media giant's reference shareholder, has committed 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 capturing the profit directly, on the model of Universal Music Group's IPO in 2021.
Booksellers and authors' representatives, who fear too much concentration of the sector, plead instead for a 100% sale that would give the buyer the means to weigh against Hachette, a track also favored by Brussels, which launched in the autumn an in-depth investigation into the operation and must make its decision by May 23.
On March 8, Vivendi said it was still "continuing discussions" with the European Commission, and giving itself an additional week to respond to the statement of objections sent by the authority. The "low price level" proposed at the time by potential buyers had forced the group to devalue by 300 million euros its subsidiary, which it had acquired in 2019 for 829 million euros, which had contributed to sinking its net loss, to more than one billion euros in 2022.
- Vincent Bolloré