French group Vivendi has announced that it has agreed to buy Editis, France's second largest book publisher, from Grupo Planeta of Spain for €900m.
The deal has to be vetted by the French Competition Authority, probably at the end of this year or beginning of 2019, before it is finalized, Vivendi said during a presentation of its third-quarter results.
The two companies entered exclusive negotiations for the transaction in July. The deal represents "a new brick in the construction of a major industrial group centered on media, content and communications," Vivendi said. "It will enrich the group’s creative capacity for developing new editorial projects and types of content." These include setting up franchises abroad on the Paddington model, and developing audio books, which are growing by 40% a year, a statement said.
The two companies "share a recognized know-how in intellectual property rights," the statement added. Moreover, "Editis and Viviendi subsidary Universal Music Group have similar structures and operate on similar lines."
The takeover sounds like history repeating itself, since the Vivendi group—under different ownership—controlled what became Editis before the foundations of the present group were laid in 2004. It is now made up of more than 50 publishing houses including Robert Laffont, Nathan, Bordas, Plon, Perrin, Pocket and Belfond. Leading authors include Marc Lévy, France’s bestselling novelist worldwide.