Chargeurs split fuels media rumours


Media Editor

Demerger mania crossed the Channel yesterday, as the holding company Chargeurs unveiled a radical split of its media and industrial operations.

Chargeurs, which has a 17.8 per cent stake in UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB, firmly denied market rumours that it intended to sell the holding. Speculation in advance of the demerger announcement helped push BSkyB shares up 21p in frantic trading.

Once details of the split were announced in Paris, the BSkyB shares dropped sharply back, but none the less ended the day 51/2p higher at 3981/2p.

Chargeurs, one of the continent's leading media players, also has investments in textiles and transport, which have reduced the stock's attractiveness, according to media analysts.

But difficulties in the publishing and television sector, including a restructuring charge of 120m FF taken by ailing French newspaper Liberation, were behind the company's losses of 575m FF in 1995, unveiled yesterday.

In a statement, the company said the demerger proposals, which have been approved by French tax authorities and expected to be "tax-neutral'', followed "an assessment by Chargeurs of the necessity to clarify and strengthen the development prospects specific to each of its major sectors of activity."

The company added that the demerged companies would be able to focus more clearly on strategic and competitive issues.

Under the terms of the demerger proposal, Chargeurs shareholders will get one share in Pathe, the new media and television company, and one share in Chargeurs International, the industrial arm, for every share they current hold. The BSkyB stake, inherited following the merger of Rupert Murdoch's Sky Television and BSB, co-owned by Chargeurs, is to remain with Pathe.

Chargeurs bought control of Pathe Cinema in 1990, beating controversial Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti, who later bought the Hollywood studio MGM.

Chargeurs' main shareholder, Jerome Seydoux, who speaks for 29 per cent family stake, has agreed not to sell shares in the company for at least five years. He is to become chairman of Pathe, which already groups the company's cinema interests.

Despite its loss-making status, the company has been rumoured as a buyer for CLT, the Luxembourg-based broadcaster whose name has also been linked with BSkyB. CLT's major shareholder, Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, is believed to be prepared to sell the stake.

Chargeurs is expected to take part in the consolidation of the continental television market, which may see a concentration in the areas of digital broadcasting and pay-TV. The company yesterday helped fuel speculation that it would seek partners to expand in the media sector, when it said the demerger would "open up the possibility of forging partnerships".

BSkyB is believed to be among those companies looking at opportunities to expand on the Continent.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot