Agreement to acquire Doctissimo, France’s leading provider of websites for women
Corporate & other activities, Finance
Paris, February 22, 2008
Lagardère SCA announces an agreement under which its Lagardère Active Digital subsidiary is to acquire 53.38% of the capital and 57.92% of the voting rights of Doctissimo, France’s leading publisher of web content for women, from its founders. The deal is based on a price of €30.50 per share. This represents a premium of 7.4% to the closing share price on February 21, 2008, of 13.2% to the 1-month average share price and of 21.7% to the 6-month average share price, and values 100% of Doctissimo at €138 million.
In accordance with stock market regulations Lagardère will file a standing market offer with the Autorité des Marchés Financiers for the Doctissimo shares not acquired under the agreement, at the same price as that paid to acquire the controlling interest, i.e. €30.50 per share.
This acquisition is in line with Lagardère’s strategy of building a position as a leading player on the internet, especially in the women’s and health segments. With the acquisition of Doctissimo, Lagardère will:
- become the French no.1 in websites for women, with nearly 6.5 million unique visitors per month*;
- move to 10th position in terms of web audience in France (all segments combined), with 10.9 million unique visitors per month*.
The Doctissimo network publishes and markets 6 websites giving dense coverage of women’s issues, with a strong focus on health, wellness and the family. It currently attracts 7.2 million unique visitors (deduplicated) per month on its specialist women’s sites and other sites**:
- Doctissimo.fr: the no.1 women’s web portal in France, thanks to a mass market strategy focused on health, with 5.7 million unique visitors per month;
- Ados.fr: a site targeted at teenagers, with 1.5 million unique visitors per month;
- Momes.net: aimed at younger children and their mothers (500 000 unique visitors);
- Gyneweb.fr: special-interest site on gynecology, pregnancy and birth (100 000 unique visitors);
- Fluctuat.net: a high-end leisure/entertainment site, with 1.2 million unique visitors per month;
- Doctissimo also publishes the Tout-partout.com parenting small ads site and owns the MesDiscussions web forum software program.
Over the past 18 months, the Doctissimo network has enjoyed phenomenal web traffic growth, adding 3.8 million unique visitors between June 2006 and January 2008. From September 2007 to January 2008, the Doctissimo site raised its audience by 40%, reaching 1.4 million daily visits in January 2008.
The acquisition will enable the Lagardère Group to:
- Significantly expand its critical mass in unique visitors in the women’s segment, enhancing the power of its offering with advertisers. The Lagardère Group is already present in this segment with a variety of sites, including Elle.fr, Psychologies.fr, Infobébés.fr and Public.fr.
- Boost its advertising sales business, which will now be selling access to nearly 16 million deduplicated unique visitors (unique visitors for Lagardère sites + Doctissimo sites + other sites on which Lagardère Publicité sells space).
- Acquire more in-depth expertise in building online audiences, especially in attracting search engine traffic.
- Unlock business and know-how synergies in editorial and web forums. The founders of Doctissimo will support the Lagardère Group in the development of its strategy, in particular Cédric Tournay, who will join the Lagardère Active team as Chief Executive Officer of Doctissimo.
Doctissimo is recording rapid top-line growth and is already well above breakeven.
In 2006, Doctissimo reported revenues of €8.65 million and recurring operating profit of €640,000.
In 2007, it generated revenues of €11.47 million, up 75%, and is expected to achieve very strong growth in recurring operating profit, with an operating margin of approximately 40%.
The deal is wholly in line with the criteria usually applied by the Lagardère Group to acquisitions.
Doctissimo’s shares have been listed since the company was floated on the Nouveau Marché of the Paris Bourse in 2000, and are currently listed on Eurolist by Euronext.
The Lagardère Group is a market leader in the media sector (books, press, audiovisual, distribution of cultural and entertainment products, and sports rights). The Group also has interests in the high technology sector via a 12.51% stake in EADS.
Lagardère shares are listed in Paris on Eurolist by Euronext – Compartment A.
* Aggregate deduplicated audience at January 31, 2008 of Lagardère Group and Doctissimo sites
** Doctissimo Network unique visitors at January 31, 2008
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