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why Vivendi chooses the Figaro group

by drbyos

The weeklies of the Figaro group (Le Figaro Madame, Le Figaro Magazine et TV Magazine) are happy to announce the probable arrival in their family of a youngest: the magazine Gala. Vivendi, whose largest shareholder is the Bolloré group, announced on Tuesday July 4 that its subsidiary Prisma Media (Geo, Entertainment TV, Capital, Here isetc.) had entered into exclusive negotiations with the Figaro group (which also includes the eponymous daily and the monthly The particular) for the sale of the flagship title of the French people press.

“If these succeed”the group owned by the Dassault family “must be approved as a buyer by the European Commission”, specifies the press release formalizing the proposed operation. The staff representative bodies will also have to give their (advisory) opinion at the end of a three-month information-consultation process which will begin next week. Finally, the Bertelsmann group – former owner of Prisma Media and which owns the license for Gala – must also validate the purchaser’s choice. Only then, “this beautiful brand”according to the term used by the managing director of the Figaro group, Marc Feuillée, in an email to employees, will come “strengthen the group’s media activities and in particular the editorial offer aimed at women”. Besides Madame Figarosold with the daily, the group owns the site The Women’s Journal.

“We were looking for a reference player already well established in the press and media, in accordance with the criteria imposed by Brussels”, justifies Claire Léost, the president of Prisma Media. The transfer of Gala (for a sum of between 60 and 80 million euros, according to an internal source) is indeed part of the remedies requested by the European Commission to endorse Vivendi’s takeover bid for Lagardère (Paris Match, Sunday newspaper, Europe 1, Europe 2, RFM, Hachette).

An ultra-dominant position

For antitrust, joint ownership of Paris Match and of Gala would have been such as to constitute an ultra-dominant position in the celebrity press segment. An analysis that Vivendi did not share but to which the group had gone by announcing, on April 11, its decision to separate from the title with 32 million euros in turnover and ten million in operating margin. In order to compensate for this significant loss of overall turnover (10%), Prisma Media has been stepping up purchases for some time (magazines Milk), the launch of new titles (Mortal Adele, last week), and develops “other print and digital projects”.

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