Wendel acquires Editis for €660m

The French private equity firm has acquired the former Vivendi publishing group from French conglomerate Lagardere for €660m.

Wendel Investissement, the Paris-based investment vehicle has acquired a controlling stake in publishing group Editis from French conglomerate Lagardere in a transaction valued at €660 million ($790 million).

Wendel will acquire approximately two-thirds of Editis, according to reports in French newspaper, Le Monde.

Vivendi Universal formerly owned the educational and consumer publishing unit, but when it was sold to Lagardere last year, the European Commission permitted the sale only on condition that 60 percent of the company be sold off.

Lagardere reportedly beat off competition from US private equity firms, including Thomas H. Lee Partners and The Blackstone Group, who submitted a joint bid with French bank, BNP Paribas.

The deal represents Wendel’s first major acquisition since the Legrand deal in December 2002. Wendel co-led a consortium alongside Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, to acquire the French electronics manufacturer for €3.7 billion, Europe’s largest buyout at the time.

Wendel Investissement was born out of the merger between Marine-Wendel and CGIP (Compagnie Generale d’Industrie) in 2002. Wendel originally invested the Wendel family fortune in the industrial sector in Lorraine from 1704 onwards.