Emap in pounds 108m French foray

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The Independent Online
EMAP is buying 38 French consumer magazines for pounds 108m in its first significant overseas acquisition. The publishing group is purchasing Editions Mondiales, a subsidiary of the privately owned Segur group, which has 28 titles including Tele Poche, a leading French television listings magazine, and 10 additional titles from three different vendors.

The debt-financed deal, which will bring with it 800 French employees, will give Emap 10 per cent of the French consumer magazine market, and make it the third-largest such publisher in France.

In 1993 the Editions Mondiales titles made pre tax profits of Fr20.5m ( pounds 2.5m) on a gross turnover (including commissions) of Fr1.437bn. Net turnover - the figure usually used in the UK - was around 30 per cent lower. Its net assets amount to Fr298m.

Editions Mondiales' accounts were qualified last year because of queries about goodwill figures in its balance sheet, and problems with provisions made by the company. Emap said these were not significant issues and stressed that in any case it would make a detailed review of the accounts before the deal was completed.

The UK publisher said it was paying Fr204.2m for 10 other magazines, principally L'Auto Journal, which were not part of the Editions Mondiales stable. These made losses of Fr6.8m on a gross turnover of Fr345m last year and had a net book value of Fr33m.

The fast-growing group - Emap's consumer magazine division has 13 per cent of the UK market - said that the deal would give it established titles in a number of market segments that it understood well.

Emap already has a small French division. In 1990, in a joint venture with Bayard Presse, a French publisher, it set up Le Chasseur Francais, now one of the country's largest consumer magazines. It has also launched two titles of its own, Peche Pratique and Reponses Photo, which are in effect French versions of its UK titles. The shares fell 2p to 405p.

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