Uncertainty is almost lifted at Editis… but also at Hachette. This Tuesday, Vivendi entered into exclusive negotiations with Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky for the complete resale of the number two French publisher, Editis. An ignment necessary for Brussels to give its blank check to the takeover bid by the firm controlled by the Bolloré family on the Lagardère Group (possessing especially Hachette) . This page soon turned, Vivendi, which has funds, will soon be able to tackle the development of Hachette, especially internationally.
Leader on the tricolor market, Hachette already emerges in third place in the world ranking of publishing (excluding the professional sector). Employing nearly 7,500 people worldwide, Hachette generated 31% of its turnover last year in France, which remains its main market, just ahead of the United States (29%) and the United Kingdom. (24%) where it is the second player in the sector. On the other side of the Atlantic, Vivendi’s financial firepower could allow Hachette to be active in the months to come. The French publisher could in particular be interested in the American publishing house Simon & Schuster, which Paramount did not manage to sell to Bertelsmann for competitive reasons .
It remains to be seen if the group controlled by the Bolloré family will position itself again on the file and if the American authorities will give the green light to the possible merger between the number three in the sector on American soil (Simon & Schuster) and the number four (Hachette) which claims a market share of 7% across the Atlantic. The merger would make it number two behind Penguin Random House and ahead of HarperCollins and would total more than 15% market share. In the summer of 2021, Hachette had already strengthened its position in the United States with the acquisition of Workman Publishing with a check for $240 million.
Edition number four in the United States
Over the past two years, Hachette has improved its profitability, in particular by reorganizing its distribution in France. But it should soon be able to exploit other sources of growth: the strengthening of its activities in certain well-oriented segments where its presence is still relatively weak. Hachette can accelerate on niches such as esotericism where it has deployed in recent years with the acquisition of the British house Laurence King Publishing in 2020, or by launching the French structure Le Lotus and L’Eléphant, exposes a good connoisseur of the sector.
What about the synergies in sight with Vivendi? “The group will no doubt attempt to build bridges between Hachette and its many entities in entertainment in an attempt to replicate the success that the group has dubbed the “Paddington model”. [Vivendi a racheté en 2016 les droits de l’ourson au duffle-coat bleu dont les films – produits par Studiocanal-, ont été des succès], argues an industry expert. Hachette has franchises like Asterix or Le Club des Cinq which would lend themselves well to this”.
In the meantime, the publishing group will have continued its international growth in recent years. Between 2018 and 2022, Hachette thus saw its global turnover increase from 2.25 billion euros to 2.75 billion – an increase of 22% over the half-decade.
Hachette has also continued to accentuate its diversification by expanding into high-end stationery with the acquisition, last year, of Paperblanks – the world’s number two in the sector behind Moleskine -, or by making several acquisitions in the video game (Neon Play, Brainbow, IsCool) and board game (Gigamic, Hiboutatillus, Blackrock Games, etc.) markets. With Vivendi at the helm, Hachette’s external growth policy could well intensify further.