The French media group has said it will press ahead with a flotation of its stake in pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus after failing to strike a deal with Vivendi. Arnaud Lagardère, chief executive, said there would “not be a U-turn” in a planned IPO of its 20 per cent stake which it values at E1.5bn on an equity basis. “We think it is the only way to get a fair value for our stake in Canal Plus.”
However, the company indicated the flotation may not happen until March 2011. Lagardère embarked on the float for its stake in Canal Plus in June after Vivendi, which owns the other 80 per cent in the broadcaster and is keen to take full ownership, refused to pay the asking price of about E1.3bn. Vivendi and some analysts are sceptical about Lagardère’s ability to sell a minority stake without a hefty discount.
Lagardère unveiled better than expected first-half sales and profits after a second quarter rebound in advertising revenues. It revised upwards its full-year guidance for operating proft in its media division from minus 10 per cent to minus 5 per cent.
First-half net profit on a like-for-like basis – excluding the company’s stake in aero group EADS – rose 20 per cent to E97m on sales down 2.7 per cent at E3.716bn.