PARIS, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Belgian publisher Roularta Media Group said it would negotiate exclusively with French businessman Patrick Drahi towards a sale of seven magazines including newsweekly L’Express.
Vivendi and newspaper Le Figaro had also expressed interest in the titles, but Drahi, who is the controlling shareholder of telecoms group Altice, won out.
No financial details were disclosed in the statement on Thursday.
Drahi has been on an acquisition spree in the past year that has included multi-billion euro buyouts of France’s second biggest telecoms company SFR and Portugal Telecom, as well as a smaller investment in French left-wing daily newspaper Liberation.
He is working with Mark Laufer, a radio and TV executive, on the acquisition of Roularta’s French titles.
The deal would include the magazines L’Express, L’Expansion, Mieux Vivre Votre Argent, Lire, Classica, Pianiste and Studio Cine Live, as well as the websites of L’Entreprise, Job Rencontres and Distrijob.
Roularta bought roughly ten French magazines in 2006 for about 210 million euros ($247.11 million), but the titles’ profitability and circulation dropped significantly since then. The Belgian publisher will keep some French magazines, including L’Etudiant and Point de Vue.
The company earned three-quarters of its revenues of 676 million euros last year from printed media.
Trading in Roularta shares, which had been suspended on Wednesday, resumed on Thursday afternoon following the company’s statement. They were down 2.4 percent to 11.49 euros at 1355 GMT. ($1 = 0.8498 euros) (Reporting by Leila Abboud; Editing by Vincent Baby)