Vivendi proposed on Monday to extend by 18 months the deadline obtained by certain Lagardère shareholders to sell their shares as part of the public purchase offer aimed at getting their hands on the group, according to a press release. Currently set for December 15, the deadline for transfer rights would be extended until June 15, 2025.
The proposal, which the French media giant justifies by the need to wait for the end of a full financial year where it will have been able to implement its strategic project, will be “submitted to a general meeting of the beneficiaries of transfer rights convened for December 11, 2023”, and will require a two-thirds majority of votes to be approved.
In a separate press release, the Lagardère group “took note” of this proposal. Already holding nearly 60% of Lagardère's shares, Vincent Bolloré's group is on the verge of finalizing the takeover of its rival, owner of the world's third largest publisher Hachette Livre, of a distribution network in train stations and airports. , and national media including JDD, Paris Match and general radio Europe 1.
Vivendi was forced, to obtain the approval of the European competition authorities, to sell its own publishing group Editis to Daniel Kretinsky, and the magazine Gala to Figaro. Shareholders who did not wish to immediately transfer their shares to the takeover bid, launched in 2022 without waiting for agreement from Brussels, could present them to the so-called “subsidiary” branch of the operation. This allowed them to obtain a transfer right at a price of 24.1 euros per share. This is the case for 31 million shares, Vivendi indicated at the end of the offer, or approximately 22% of Lagardère's capital.
Arnaud Lagardère, CEO of the group that bears his name and owner of 11% of the company's shares, announced that he would not contribute his shares to the main offer, but said he was ready to participate in the subsidiary offer. This was also the case for a share of the capital held by Bernard Arnault, the boss of LVMH.
Vivendi entered the capital of Lagardère in the spring of 2020, then weakened by the Covid-19 crisis and threatened by a shareholder revolt. Vivendi was then able to join forces with the activist fund Amber Capital to obtain a transformation of the impregnable Lagardère citadel into an ordinary public limited company and above all likely to be the subject of a takeover bid. Lagardère shares ended slightly higher on Monday on the Paris Stock Exchange, at 19.16 euros.