From the nation that brought you the word “bizarre,” we have fashionistas coming over all bookish. As reported by Dow Jones, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton has taken a 9.5 percent stake in the holding company of illustrious family-owned French publishing house Gallimard, for a consideration likely to be around EUR25-30 million ($34-41.2 million). And it’s not every day that I get to crib from the pages of Women’s Wear Daily for TeleRead, but here you go.
According to reports in France’s Le Monde, Madrigall, the family group controlled by Antoine Gallimard, is in the hole for around EUR250 million ($344 million) of debt it contracted to acquire rival Parisian publisher Flammarion in 2012. The LVMH investment will help support Madrigall’s finances, without affecting control of Gallimard, which will remain with the Gallimard family and relatives. However, Le Monde and others are predicting that LVMH will not be a passive investor, and already has …. ahem … designs that explain this peculiar tieup.
“The Madrigall group’s publishing houses represent a unique literary and historical patrimony of exceptional quality. I am happy that Antoine Gallimard has chosen to link LVMH with his group’s future. We share the same vision for development of our houses, founded on their prestigious history, their family character and the staff that drive them,” said LVMH CEO Bernie Arnault, whose son Antoine will join the Madrigall board.
LVMH and Gallimard already cooperate on a series of City Guides for major global metropolitan destinations. But Le Monde speculates that Arnault’s team may be more interested in Gallimard’s real estate portfolio, especially those properties in the swank Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, than in what The Guardian once described as “the best backlist in the world.” Either that, or we could be in for a highly superior range of new book slipcases.