Vivendi in exclusive negotiations with Daniel Kretinsky to sell 100% of Editis

Vivendi in exclusive negotiations with Daniel Kretinsky to sell 100% of Editis

The Czech billionaire is already the owner of the CMI magazine press group in France and a shareholder of TF1.

It took almost a year to see the epilogue of the greatest literary soap opera of recent years. At dawn this Tuesday morning, the French media giant Vivendi finally announced that it had entered “in exclusive negotiationswith International Media Invest (IMI), a subsidiary of the CMI holding company founded by Daniel Kretinsky, with a view to the sale of 100% of Editis. Le Figaro unveiled yesterday exclusively that the Czech billionaire had officially submitted an offer.

Beyond CMI (the magazines Elle, Marianne, Franc-Tireur, Télé 7 Jours…), Daniel Kretinsky is a co-shareholder of World. The new French media mogul also owns 8% of TF1 and recently bailed out Release up to 15 million euros. The Czech was able to seduce Vincent Bolloré, against the founder of Free, Xavier Niel, the Italian group Mondadori, owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the Canadian Quebecor and the media group Reworld, which had also expressed their interest in Editis.

“I am aware of the responsibilities that such an acquisition implies given the quality of the companies that make up the group and their place in French intellectual history”Daniel Kretinsky said in a statement. “Already present in the press, we would then also be present in publishing with the same principles: a long-term vision, a logic of development, a demand for quality, the concern to highlight the teams and to promote the contained in compliance with the French religious exception”, he continues. Advised in France by Denis Olivennes, the Francophile Czech billionaire had met Vincent Bolloré a few weeks ago in Paris.

This sale of Editis “envisaged must be accepted by the European Commission and will be the subject of information-consultation procedures with the staff representative bodies concerned”, details Vivendi. The group also states that, “in this context, the proposed distribution of Editis shares to Vivendi shareholders, and their listing on the Euronext Growth market, is suspended“.

Vivendi will submit this sales plan to the European Commission in the coming hours, with the identity of the buyer. From now on, Brussels has until May 23 to rule definitively on the file. Daniel Kretinsky would already be favored by Editis employees, according to our information.

Strategy thwarted

In recent months, the strategy of Vincent Bolloré, who launched his takeover bid for the Lagardère group, has been thwarted by European regulators, who have opened an in-depth investigation into the case. Before the summer of 2022, the Breton businessman had first fought, in vain, for many months not to get rid of Editis (53 publishing houses, including Julliard, Robert Laffont, Plon , Perrin, Le Cherche Midi, 10/18, Bordas, Bouquins, la Découverte, Le Robert, Nathan, Pocket, etc.), in which the group has invested nearly 200 million euros over the past four years. Initially, Vivendi hoped to be able to retain the best of Editis and Hachette in France, as well as all of Hachette’s international activities. And resell the rest to a third party.

But faced with the refusal of European regulators, Vincent Bolloré had then imagined a scheme for the sale of Editis, which would allow him to retain some control, while maximizing his financial gain. He wanted to sell a block of Editis shares (between 32% and 37%) and list the rest of Editis’ capital on the stock market (on Euronext Growth, where the threshold for triggering a takeover bid is 50%). For the Bolloré group, Vivendi’s reference shareholder (with 29.5% of the shares), this method had the advantage of better valuing its share in Editis and capturing the profit directly, on the model of the IPO on the Universal Music Group Stock Exchange in 2021.

Eight months later, however, after receiving grievances from Brussels last week, Vivendi had to change its plans once again, this time under duress the sale of all of Editis.

The timing for selling Editis is not the best. In a declining publishing market, after an exceptional year 2021, Editis unveiled on Wednesday a turnover of 789 million euros (- 8.1% over one year). When publishing its results, Vivendi announced that it had spent a depreciation of 300 million euros on this asset, reduced to a book value of 529 million. In 2019, the French group had to pay 829 million euros to buy Editis from the Spanish Planeta.

Source link

Leave a Reply