French media group Vivendi has entered exclusive talks to sell its publishing house Editis to Czech Media Invest, founded by billionaire Daniel Křetínský, in a move that could pave the way to a bigger deal with Lagardère.
The sale of Editis is seen as a prerequisite to get EU regulators’ approval for Vivendi’s takeover of Lagardère, a publishing and retail group. Competition authorities had balked at the idea of Vivendi controlling both Editis and Hachette, which is owned by Lagardère.
No price tag was given but Vivendi last week wrote down the value of Editis by €300mn to €529mn.
Vivendi had initially planned to list Editis on the Euronext Growth exchange via a share distribution, and then sell the Bolloré family’s 30 per cent stake to an investor. The group had been in talks over the Bolloré stake with three parties but said that after receiving “several offers” for the whole company, the share distribution project was on hold.
Křetínský, who has built one of Europe’s largest energy groups through a series of acquisitions over the past decade, is a major shareholder in J Sainsbury and Royal Mail, and also has stakes in French newspaper Le Monde, food retailer Casino and German retailer Metro AG.