Publicis Groupe acquires Relaxnews for €15 million

MUMBAI: The Maurice Levy led Publicis Groupe has acquired the French press agency Relaxnews for a sum of €15 million (€9.58 euros a share).

Earlier this year in February, the agency had entered into exclusive negotiations with shareholders of Relaxnews to buy the company.

Publicise Groupe, which had created a special vehicle - Financi?re Relaxnews - for the purpose of the takeover of Relaxnews - bought 94 per cent of the share capital and voting rights of Relaxnews.

Approximately 30 per cent of the Relaxnews was purchased at a price of 9.58 euro per share from the co-founders Jérôme and Pierre Doncieux. Around 30 per cent of the share capital of Financi?re Relaxnews will be held by the co-founders and the remaining 70 per cent will be owned by Publicis Groupe.

The acquisition of a block of shares representing approximately 34 per cent of the company's share capital at a price of 9.58 euro per share from other minority shareholders (including investment funds managed by Sigma Gestion and La Française Asset Management).

According to the General Regulations of the French Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), in the coming days, Financi?re Relaxnews will file a project for a simplified takeover bid on the remaining shares of Relaxnews at a price of 9.58 euro per share. Given that the Relaxnews' board of directors has made a commitment to tender treasury shares held by Relaxnews to the takeover bid, Financi?re Relaxnews will own more than 95 per cent at the end of the takeover bid.

Consequently, Financi?re Relaxnews will implement a squeeze-out procedure after the closing date of the takeover bid. The terms and conditions of this simplified takeover bid and of the squeeze-out, including financial conditions and timetable, will be disclosed in a separate press release, and will be subject to the approval of the Autorité des marchés financiers.

Publicis chairman Maurice Lévy said, “With the integration of Relaxnews, Publicis Groupe's clients could not only have access to an extended offer of leisure content but also to consistent measurement tools. I am pleased that Jérôme and Pierre Doncieux with all their team will join us. I am strongly confident in the new growth opportunities the group will be able to assign to its clients.”

ZenithOptimedia France CEO Sébastien Danet added, “I am proud that ZenithOptimedia will be integrating such editorially and technologically valuable assets. With Jérôme and Pierre, we are going to be the Relaxnews incubator to all Publicis Groupe's marks and clients in France and abroad.”

Jérôme and Pierre Doncieux said, “We are very happy! Happy for the opportunities ahead for our teams. Happy for our clients' added value. Happy to see the confidence shown by our shareholders and our board members who helped us to finalize the combination project and we thank them for this. Happy to move forward with Habert Dassault Finances and our strategic partner AFP. Happy for all we will learn and create in Publicis Groupe.”

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