“This acquisition is a long-term financial investment reflecting Vivendi’s confidence in the future prospects of the French group, which enjoys international leadership positions in its businesses, and which, like many
others, is experiencing difficult times at the moment,” said Vivendi in a release.
Vivendi is also stepping in at a crucial time for Arnaud Lagardere, who is seeking allies to take on the company’s leading shareholder Amber Capital. The business has a 16.42% stake in the producer-distributor and reportedly wants Lagardere out, amid alleged attempts to take control of the supervisory board. The next board meeting will take place on May 5.
Vivendi recently completed the sale of 10% of Universal Music Group (UMG) for an enterprise value of €30 billion ($32.5 billion) to a consortium led by Tencent.
Vivendi on Monday posted 4.4% revenue growth on a fixed currency basis to €3.87 billion ($4.2 billion) for the period from January to March. The business said its revenues for the first three months of 2020 had been “little affected” by the consequences of COVID-19, though the pandemic only became progressively worse in France from early March.
Vivendi’s revenue growth for the first quarter mainly stemmed from the growth of UMG and Canal Plus Group. UMG’s revenues were €1.77 billion ($1.92 billion), up 12.7% on a constant currency basis compared to the first quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, Canal Plus Group’s revenues were €1.37 billion ($1.49 billion), up 1% on a constant currency basis.
Lagardere is the parent company of Lagardère Studios (Damien Chazelle’s Netflix series “The Eddy”), an expansive French TV producer-distributor comprising 27 companies, including the Spanish banner Boomerang, which owns rights to a number of popular U.S. animated TV shows.
Lagardere Studios has been on the market for some time but has struggled to find a buyer. The company reportedly wants $216 million for Lagardere Studios.