Vivendi strikes Editis deal in step towards Lagardere takeover

By Diana Mandia and Laura Lenkiewicz

April 24 (Reuters) – Vivendi said on Monday it had entered into a put option agreement with a subsidiary of Daniel Kretinsky’s Czech Media Invest (CMI) to sell its publishing business Editis.

Vivendi is set to win EU approval to buy fellow French media group Lagardere after addressing antitrust concerns with its offer to sell Editis and celebrity magazine Gala.

Czech billionaire Kretinsky, who has built up one of Europe’s biggest energy companies over the last decade, already has stakes in France’s Le Monde newspaper, supermarket company Casino and TV group TF1.

Vivendi said in March that it was in talks with CMI’s International Media Invest (IMI) over the sale of Editis.

“We are convinced that Editis and Gala will have a bright future, supported by their future shareholders, and that they will unfortunately continue to be formidable competitors for Lagardère”, supervisory board chairman Yannick Bolloré told shareholders at Vivendi’s annual general meeting.

CMI is the leading media group in the Czech Republic where it publishes four daily newspapers, a number of magazines, and planet88 has an extensive digital and radio presence.

IMI said it a statement that buying Editis “reinforces CMI’s development strategy in content industry, while at the same respecting the cultural exception of the company’s activities”.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Vivendi earlier said first-quarter revenue rose 3.1% to 2.29 billion euros ($2.51 billion), driven by growth at Canal+ Group, slightly shy of JP Morgan’s 2.3 billion euro estimate.($1 = 0.9108 euros) (Reporting by Laura Lenkiewicz and Diana Mandiá; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Louise Heavens and Alexander Smith)

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