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Canal+ owner Vivendi moves to take full control of Lagardère

Canal+ owner Vivendi plans to take full control of publishing and travel retail giant Lagardère as it re-centres its activities on media. The group intends to acquire activist investor Amber Capital’s 17.93% stake in the group at the latter’s invitation – in line with a previous agreement between the pair.

Vivendi will pay €24.10 a share for the stake, a premium of about 24%, with the aim of completing the purchase by December 15, subject to approval by French media regulator the CSA and the European Commission.

Completion of the purchase of Amber Capital’s stake will give Vivendi a 45.1% stake in Lagardère, taking it above the threshold that requires it to make a public offer for outstanding shares.

Vivendi says it will then file a mandatory proposal for a public offer at the same price for all Lagardère shares with the French markets regulator the AMF.

The move comes after Vivendi finalised plans to separate from the outstanding asset in its portfolio in terms of performance, Universal Music. The latter is set to float next week, distributing 60% of its shares to Vivendi shareholders including Vivendi founder Vincent Bolloré.

Vivendi previously sold 10% of Universal Music to China’s Tencent and another 10% to US investment outfit Pershing Square.

The acquisition of Lagardère would establish Vivendi as a group centred on media assets. Lagardère owns, among other things, the Europe1 radio station, which has recently collaborated closely with Canal+’s controversial right-leaning news channel CNews, sharing content and presenters. Most recently, the CNews morning show with Thomas Legquertier was re-broadcast by Europe1.

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