Vivendi’s deal to buy out rival Lagardere is now is likely to face a full-scale EU antitrust investigation, reported Reuters.
The acquisition would combine France’s two largest publishing groups, Lagardere’s Hachette and Vivendi’s Editis, and has come in for criticism from rivals including Gallimard.
Bollore is Vivendi’s controlling shareholder with a 29% stake. The mass media holding company already owns 57% of Lagardere after a bid for all of the group’s shares.
To resolve European Union antitrust concerns billionaire Vincent Bollore, would sell all Editis shares he would receive after the transaction, which would consist of a simultaneous distribution of the publishing unit’s shares to Vivendi shareholders and its listing.
The move aims to remove the entire overlap between Vivendi and Lagardere, one of the people said. It was not impossible that Vivendi may formally offer remedies in a bid to secure approval during the EU preliminary review but the short period of time left for regulators to do their work during this phase was a constraint, the person said.
The European Commission is expected to launch an in-depth investigation after finishing its preliminary review of the deal on Nov. 30, the sources said.