Vivendi’s takeover of Hachette raises a range of concerns among authors

At a time when Vincent Bolloré’s Vivendi group is due to officially take control of Hachette Livre at the end of November, Jean-Baptiste Andrea, winner of the 2023 Goncourt prize for Watch over her, states it bluntly: “Vincent Bolloré is not my friend. I have no sympathy for his ideas. » The one who just refused an interview with Sunday newspaper (JDD)which also includes Vivendi − is very happy in its small independent publishing house, L’Iconoclaste.

What about his colleagues, the Hachette-branded authors? The 41e Brive Book Fair, which ended on Sunday, November 12, in Brive-la-Gaillarde (Corrèze), proved particularly conducive to surveying, among the 400 authors, those who publish under the banners Stock, Calmann-Lévy, Gret, Fayard or JC Lattès (the major literary houses of the group). Many had made the trip to sign, sometimes on the chain, their latest works and to reward their fans with a kind word.

Julie Gayet, who wrote her first book, Together we are strongerat Stock, warns from the outset that “it will also be the last”. In the cinema, everyone said that the arrival of Vincent Bolloré at Canal+ would not change anything. » But “I was made to understand [qu’en tant qu’épouse de François Hollande] there was no way I was going to be part of the cast of For honor, by Philippe Guillard »co-financed by Studio Canal, she says.

The encrypted channel defends itself from any ostracism, ensuring that the actress plays in seven films produced or broadcast by Canal+, which also bought three documentaries that she produced. Julie Gayet states that “Vincent Bolloré will not want to [la] publish » And what will follow its editor, Sylvie Delus, leaving for Albin Michel.

The risk of political interference, in line with the takeover of the JDD and the extreme right-wing of its editorial staff, just like the Catholic prism claimed by the Breton industrialist, frightens some. Not all. “That worries me. We don’t know what sauce we’re going to be eaten with.”, testifies Gaëlle Nohant (Gret). In an often precarious profession, the author of Destiny Clearing Bureau would like contractual clauses to follow his publisher if he changed houses.

“Fiction remains the last space of freedom”

In 2022, around ten authors capped by Fayard followed in the footsteps of Sophie from Closets, left for Flammarion following a conflict with Nicolas Sarkozy, administrator of Lagardère and close to Vincent Bolloré. Senior reporter at WorldVanessa Schneider leaves Gret − because she “is not comfortable with the new shareholder” − to join Madrigall, holding company of the Gallimard group.

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