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Lagardere gets all clear over Editis

A Paris commercial court has given French publishing group Lagardère the all clear following an inquiry into the way the sale of its publishing group Editis was handled. Wendel Investissement is in the process of buying Editis for €660m, which will be paid entirely in cash.

French book publisher Odile Jacob, which was part of a consortium making a €624m bid for the business, suggested Lagardère had not abided by the rules governing auctions and felt discriminated against in the auction process. The rest of the bidding consortium, which also included CIC, Crédit Mutuel and Providence Equity Partners, were not involved in the legal action. Jacob was hoping the courts would freeze the agreed deal with Wendel Investissement.

Lagardère did not dispute the accusation. A spokesperson for the company said: “It was not an auction. We invited potential buyers to make a bid and specified in the documentation that we would be able stop the sales process at any moment and all the candidates involved in the sale agreed.”

Lagardère was looking for a price around €630m although it did receive three or four propositions below that. Odile Jacob was putting up only 20% of the proposed €624m bid for the business.