Vivendi will launch its takeover bid for the Lagardère group in February 2022

Would Vincent Bolloré have decided to wrap up his business before his official retirement on February 17, 2022? To everyone’s surprise, Vivendi is stepping up its takeover of Lagardère, of which it is the largest shareholder and on which it had announced a takeover bid in mid-September. The operation, which was to take place “Before December 15, 2022”, will finally launch in February.

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“The analyzes recently carried out by Vivendi led it to consider that this acquisition could take place immediately”, the group said in a statement, released on Thursday, December 9. “Vivendi will file with the Autorité des marchés financiers a public tender offer targeting all the Lagardère shares that it does not hold, at a price of 24.10 euros per share. “

To do this, Vivendi will acquire “In the next few days” the 17.5% of the Amber Capital fund that it does not own, bringing its stake to 45% of the capital. This announcement does not result in an additional cash outflow. Vivendi had already paid in advance the 610 million euros it owed to Amber Capital, a sign that it was confident in the completion of this transaction. By getting his hands on Lagardère, Vincent Bolloré is adding to his media empire, already owners of Canal + or the Prisma newspapers, flagships such as Paris Match, The Sunday Newspaper, Hachette, Europe 1 and the Relay stores.

Green light pending

But there is still a long way to go for Vivendi, which must obtain the green light from the European Competition Authority and the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA). Initially, he had planned to wait for the approval of these competent authorities before buying Lagardère. Main obstacle: the takeover of Hachette, while Vivendi has its main rival, Editis, in the publishing market. The merger will require, at least, important “remedies”, in light of the disposals of assets. The group, which is working on the subject, will submit its files to the European Commission next year.

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In the meantime, the group let it be known that it “Will not exercise the voting rights attached to all of the shares acquired from Amber”. In other words, he will be content to use his position as the largest shareholder with 22.3% of the voting rights. Above all, he must not give the impression that he already controls a group, officially led and for several more years, as promised by Mr. Bolloré, by Arnaud Lagardère.

At almost 70 years old, the Breton businessman seems to show that he wants to put his affairs in order before leaving the prestigious offices of Vivendi on the avenue de Friedland, in 2022. He has promised, for the 200 years of the Bolloré group, to make room for his sons.