Wendel sells French publisher for €1bn

Wendel, the French buyouts house, has sold portfolio company Editis, the second largest publisher in France, for €1bn to Planeta, the Spanish media group.

Planeta had to fight off the advances of French publisher Media-Participations, which made an indicative offer of around €1bn according to local newspaper stories.

Wendel has owned Editis since 2004, when it paid €660m for the Paris-based business. Since that time it has acquired seven companies, with total sales of €150m, while its operating income has increased by 60%, reaching €93m in 2007.

Planeta, which is the world leader in Spanish language publishing, plans to continue to develop Editis and retaining the current management team, lead by Alain Kouck as CEO.

Jean-Bernard Lafonta, chairman of Wendel, said: “Alain Kouck’s strategy has made Editis into a major player in French publishing. Combining it with Planeta is in line with our strategy to create and internationalize leading companies. We are pleased to have contributed to this strategic development.”

Editis has over 40 brands in the literature, reference and education publishing sectors. It most recently acquired Gründ Publishing, a French publisher of children and reference books.

Kouck said: “The merger of Editis with Planeta is an important step. It will give a fillip to the growth of our group, enable us to build a new European publishing leader and ensure that Editis can expand outside the French-speaking world.”