EU clears Lagardere purchase of VUP

7th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Jan 7 (AFP) - The European Commission Wednesday gave the green light to the partial takeover of Vivendi Universal's publishing arm by French group Lagardere.

BRUSSELS, Jan 7 (AFP) - The European Commission Wednesday gave the green light to the partial takeover of Vivendi Universal's publishing arm by French group Lagardere.

The European Union's executive arm said Lagardere could only take a 40 percent stake in Editis (formerly Vivendi Universal Publishing) because an acquisition of the whole business would have created competition concerns.

Lagardere had backed away from buying the entire business, which the commission said would have raised serious fears about competition in the market for French-language books.

"The decision of Lagardere to only take over a limited portion of shares in Editis allowed for these fears to be eliminated," the commission said in a statement.

Brussels said it would still need to approve eventual transactions involving the rest of Editis's shareholding but that negotiations on this remained commercially confidential.

When the investigation was opened in June, the commission said it had "serious doubts" about the impact of the deal on the markets for publishing rights and the distribution and sale of books.

Acquisition of Editis would rank the Lagardere group fifth among publishers worldwide, in addition to its aviation interests.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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