Among the large predators ready to acquire the jewels of the French daily press, we waited Vincent Bolloré and Vivendi, Patrick Drahi and Altice Media Group and Xavier Niel and its holding Illiad. They had forgotten Bernard Arnault.
The LVMH boss did indeed never formally expressed the desire to extend its media activities beyond the daily “L es Echos” and Radio Classique that it has since 2007. The businessman therefore surprised everyone by announcing today that it will enter into exclusive negotiations with family Parisien owner.
If the operation goes to completion, Les Echos and Le Parisien together weigh some 335 million euros in turnover. Is precisely the size of the group that publishes Le Monde, besides the namesake newspaper, magazine Télérama, International Mail or Life .
The case is very committed. Extraordinary works councils were held this afternoon. The actual redemption could take place at the beginning of September. It will be submitted to the competition authorities but the Les Echos group, even hitched to Paris does not represent a danger of concentration in the highly fragmented landscape of the press in France.
With this surprise announcement, Bernard Arnault displayed for the first time a major strategic ambition in the media for several reasons. Investment in Le Parisien reach 50 million euros. A low figure in view of LVMH assets, but significant on the press market for a title that is operating breakeven in 2015 after 4 years of losses.
Then, the synergies between 2 titles appear limited. They could touch the management and distribution but certainly not writing so much a line and positioning (GP for Le Parisien Financial for Les Echos ) are different.
Finally, the advertising targets both titles, popular for one, officers framework for the other, are very remote. It could be the foundation of a broader package that would find its consistency in the range of media and targets.
The great captains of industry (Niel, Drahi, Bollore, Arnault) rely on a double effect: they first buy at historically low valuations. And they rely on a new configuration of the media landscape. For the major players in the Web and telecom, immensely rich, will increasingly make the difference between their offer on what they call the content. Movies, series or information …
The press still owned by families (such as luxury before the eruption of the great empires Arnault and Pinault), began a historic change and, by restructuring seems to rediscover the attraction it has long aroused.