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Agreement between Lagardère Média and WH Smith Plc to acquire Hodder Headline


Corporate & other activities, Lagardère Publishing

Paris, 2nd August 2004

Lagardère Média announces today that it has reached an agreement with WH Smith Plc to acquire Hodder Headline, subject to WH Smith’s shareholders approval and to regulatory approval.

Following the acquisition of Anaya in Spain and the stregthening of its core activities in France with Larousse, Dunod, Dalloz and Armand Colin, Hachette Livre has been aiming at acquiring a strong position in the key English language markets.

Hodder Headline is, in this respect, a remarkable strategic opportunity : fourth largest UK publisher, ranking sixth in Education, with a turnover exceeding 200 million Euros, Hodder Headline commands one of the most balanced publishing portfolios in the English speaking world, present in publishing segments similar to those of Hachette Livre : Fiction and Non Fiction in Literature with strong imprints and major authors such as Stephen King, John le Carré, James Patterson ; in Children’s Books with Trade books as well as books for school libraries ; and in Education, with a significant presence in secondary textbooks, in home learning and in higher education.

In addition, Hodder Headline is established in Australia and in New Zealand, and runs its own UK distribution centre (Bookpoint).

Arnaud Lagardère commented : « With the assets acquired recently from Editis, and today with Hodder Headline, we are achieving our target to rank among the very top European publishers, and we are building on the strategic development of this business, which is the backbone of the Group. This constitutes evidence of the consistency and the steadiness of our strategy for a sustainable and balanced growth of our businesses ».

Hachette Livre is the top French publisher, is ranking second in Spain, and is overall the sixth largest publisher worldwide with a revenue of 1,350 million Euros. A subsidiary of Lagardère Média, with Arnaud Nourry as its President, Hachette Livre is active in all segments of general book publishing, as well as on the publication of partworks.

Press Contacts:

Alain LEMARCHAND - 33 (0)1 40 69 18 02

Valérie Bignon - 33 (0)6 22 67 70 81

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