French media powerhouse Vivendi has officially completed its long-anticipated acquisition of rival Lagardère. The deal, however, is not without its challenges, as the European Commission is currently investigating potential breaches of merger rules.
Vivendi, known for its ownership of premium TV channel Canal+ and the Havas communication group, solidified its dominance in the sector with the acquisition of Lagardère. The completion of the transaction grants Vivendi control over approximately 60% of Lagardère’s share capital, allowing it to exercise just over 50% of the voting rights.
The strategic move, initiated several years ago, signifies a monumental shift in the scope of Vivendi’s influence, with the Bolloré family at its helm. One of the most noteworthy outcomes of the acquisition is Vivendi’s takeover of Hachette Livre, France’s leading publisher and the third-largest globally. In a press release, Vivendi proudly declared itself a “world leader” in the culture and media sector.
The deal also brings under Vivendi’s umbrella a distribution network encompassing railway stations and airports, including the Relay chain of retailers. Moreover, Vivendi expands its footprint in the media landscape by acquiring a portfolio of national media outlets, such as the JDD, Paris Match, and Europe 1. The acquisition also includes ownership of several iconic theaters, including the Casino de Paris and Folies Bergère.
While Vivendi is celebrating the successful completion of the takeover, the European Commission has cast a shadow over the festivities. The regulatory body is actively investigating whether the deal violates merger rules, raising concerns about potential anticompetitive practices. This scrutiny underscores the growing challenges that major corporations face in navigating complex regulatory frameworks as they seek to expand their influence.
The completion of the Vivendi-Lagardère deal marks a significant chapter in the ever-evolving landscape of global media and entertainment conglomerates. As the European Commission delves into the intricacies of the acquisition, the industry awaits the outcome, mindful of the potential implications for future mergers and acquisitions within the sector.
Source: Euro News