47. Lagardère Media

Revenues 2020: € 4.400 billion



The Lagardère-group used to be a multi-billion conglomerate including a 7.5 % holding of the European armaments, aeronautics and astronautics company EADS. As of 2013, however, it is only active in the media fields of press, publishing, press distribution as well as television, radio and multimedia.  Lagardère is present in over 40 countries and employs approximately 23,000 people in 428 subsidiaries.

General Information


4, rue de Presbourg, 75016 Paris, Frankreich
Phone: 0033-1-40 69 16 00
Fax: 0033-1-40 69 21 31
Internet: www.lagardere.com

Public Relations: Thierry Funck-Brentano
Phone: 0033-1-40 69 16 34
E-Mail: tfb(at)lagardere.fr

Branches: Book publishing, newspapers, magazines, press distribution, radio, cable channels, satellite-TV, television production, sports marketing
Legal form: Private limited partnership 
Financial year: 1/1 - 12/30 
Founding year: 1826 (as Hachette), 1992 (as Lagardère Groupe)

Tab. I: Economic Performance

Revenues (€ Mio.)7,3917,1907,1707,2167,3707,6577,9667,8928,2148,582
Profit (€ Mio.)74185240106(439)194164627564
Share price (€, end of year)26,4227,4521,6027,0225,9820,4030,8328,4129,0051,29
Tab. II: Segment revenues (€ Mio.)
Lagardère Publishing2,2642.2062,0042,0662,0772,0382,1652,2732,1592,130
Lagardère Active9159629589961,0141,4411,8261,7252,1112,291
Lagadère Services ----3,8143,7453,8093,7243,5793,3873,5003,721
Lagardère Sports/Unlimited517515394409470454396507444440
Lagardére Travel Retail3,6953,510----------------

Executives and Directors



  • Arnaud Lagardère, General and Managing Partner, Chief Executive Officer, Lagardère Sports and Entertainment
  • Pierre Leroy, Co-Managing Partner
  • Thierry Funck-Brentano, Co-Managing Partner
  • Ramzi Khiroun, Spokesperson, Chief External Relations Officer
  • Gérard Adsuar, Deputy Chief Financial Officer
  • Éric Thomas, General Counsel
  • Arnaud Nourry, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hachette Livre
  • Dag Rasmussen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lagardère Travel Retail
  • Denis Olivennes, Chairman, Lagardère Active
  • Andrew Georgiou, CEO, Lagardére Sports


Board of Directors:

  • Xavier de Sarrau, Chairman
  • Georges Chodron de Courcel, BNP Paribas
  • Francois David, Coface
  • Patrick Valroff, Crédit Agricole CIB
  • Javier Monzón, Indra
  • Francois Roussely, Messier Maris
  • Nathalie Andrieux, La Poste group
  • Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft
  • Pierre Lescure, Canal+
  • Martine Chéne, CDFT
  • Jean-Claude Magendie, Paris Court of Appeal
  • Soumia Malinbaum, Keyrus
  • Hélène Molinari, Be-Bound
  • Aline Sylla-Walbaum, Christie's
  • Susan M. Tolson, Capital Group
  • Laure Rivière-Doumenc



Louis Hachette (1800-1864) acquired the Parisian Librairie Brédif in 1826 to form the fundament for the core business of what would become a media conglomerate: Books, press and printing. A few decades later, Hachette was the European market leader and published schoolbooks, encyclopaedias, travel books and magazines. In 1945, the publishing house’s most popular magazine of today was released for the first time, women’s magazine ELLE. Le Livre de Poche, France’s best-selling paperback series had been the result of a collaboration with Henri Filipacchi in 1953. Hachette also controlled the publishing houses Grasset, Fayard and Stock since the 1950s. In 1986, Hachette acquired the Europe 1 radio station, which enjoyed very good ratings at that time.
Jean-Luc Lagardère (1928-2003) vacated his position as general director at Dassualt Aviation in 1963 and went on to work for armaments manufacturer Matra (Mécanique Aviation Traction) of which he was made the CEO in 1977. In 1989, Matra took over 40 percent of the Hachette media house. What followed were two speculative company mergers in 1999. Matra’s technology and armaments division amalgamated with the public Aerospatiale. In October, Aerospatilia-Matra subsequently merged with Daimler-Chrysler Aerospace (DASA) to become the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

Today, Lagardère, the son of a civil servant from Gascogne is widely known as a French legend of entrepreneurship. First a qualified engineer, then arms dealer, media tycoon, France’s most important horse breeder and always hobnobbing with all the Presidents and Premiers from Paris, Lagardère succeeded in transforming a middle class company into a global conglomerate. There is actually only one thing that he never achieved: His own terrestrial TV channel. In the race for the French market leader TF1’s privatization in 1987, Lagardère, who was the head of a powerful media group after all, lost out to estate contractor Francis Bouygues (whose profession positioned him very close to the political sphere). After an ill-considered and headless investment in Berlusconi’s La Cinq in 1990, came the true low blow that would prove to cause considerable pain: When the publisher of  ‘Figaro’, Robert Hersant, dangled the prospect of the long-awaited entry into the leading media before him, Lagardère did not hesitate and accepted. The bitter truth however was that Lagardère had been royally bamboozled by the old dog, who saw that La Cinq was heading for a car crash finish and wanted to get rid of his shares.

The second trauma in the life of Jean-Luc Lagardère was the heavy traffic accident of his only son, Arnaud (*1961) in September 1981. Arnaud got away by the skin of his teeth. Father and son would not let anything separate them anymore and the result was a fidélité obsessionelle. Arnaud Lagardère joined the company in 1986, became the head of the media department, part of the triumvirate at the company top and was slowly introduced to the subtleties of company leadership. “I love my son”, said Jean-Luc Lagardère, “and I love my company. Bringing these two things together is my greatest achievement.” When Jean-Luc Lagardère died of a rare autoimmune-disease on the 14th of March in 2003, his succession had already been set in stone. Arnaud Lagardère was ready to take over the business right off the bat.

Since 2006, Arnaud Lagardère has been working on a substantial reorganization of the company. It was announced in December 2006 that the press pool Hachette Filipacchi Médias (HFM) and Lagardère Active (TV, Radio, Internet) would be combined to become the comprehensive media division Lagardère Active Media. The intended result was the creation of an “international market leader for the publishing of content in all media formats”. The only catch of course, was that it had to be profitable after all. A credo for which the regional press apparently could not provide and as such, Lagardère got rid of his regional titles from Southern France by mid-August 2007 (including Nice-Matin, La Provence and Var Matin). Hersant-Média paid 160 million EURO for the package and increased the number of their regional papers to almost 40.

Another announcement was made on the 31st of January 2011: The Hearst Corporation, publisher of Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Better Homes and Garden will take over the complete international Lagardère magazine division for 887 million $ (651 EURO), a total of 102 titles in 15 countries. This particular Lagardère business branch was considered too small to be able to ‘efficiently compete’ in the USA (and other markets).

A hot topic is the Lagardère-withdrawal from EADS. In mid-May 2007, the finance director Dominique D’Hinnin issued a statement: “It is our strategy to one day push off the minority stake we hold of EADS (…) – it is however, a long term goal.” D’Hinnin elaborated on November the 9th: The sale is ‘only a matter of the price’. Yet, nothing happens because nothing can happen for the time being - For political reasons. The presidential elections will happen in spring 2012 and Sarkozy is keen to leave the topic of EADS out of the hustings. He does not wish for a shift in the complex German-French power relations to be caused through the sale of Lagardère-shares. Thus, until after the election, everything is bound to stay the same. One thing is clear though: The days of Lagardère being an armaments manufacturer are numbered.



It had never been a secret that Arnaud Lagardère never sported a particular affinity for the armaments business and the associated political acrobatics. His first course of action after the demise of his father in 2003 was the sale of the Matra-Motor division to Pininfarina. What followed was a consequent focus on the media industry, a trend that was started by his father. Yet, despite reducing the Lagardère-shares of EADS from 14,95 to 7,5 percent and despite the German-French turbulences that were a result of the Airbus’ delivery problems (and its negative influence on the Lagardère-numbers), the plan is not to withdraw from EADS at short notice. Thus communicates the message of Arnaud Lagardère in an AP-statement from the 13th of March of 2007: “You don’t abandon ship during a storm”.

Lagardère is a media man. Sometimes he plays the role as the saviour of French highbrow culture, such as it happened with the takeover of Vivendi Universal Publishing’s Europe pool of through English investment fonds. At the same time, he is an outspoken fan of Hollywood’s blockbuster business (‘Gladiator’ had been his favourite film for quite some time). Yet in the back of the hand still lurks the legacy of his father, television. Jean-Luc Lagardère may left his mark as grande company man in the history of French economics, but Arnaud is still suffering from the public image as a pantaloon, as it was so evidently displayed only recently in the Süddeutschen Zeitung from the 28th of April 2010. The newspaper writes that he has the habit of remaining uncommitted and ‘sticking to the vague’ in his public addresses during general meetings. He leaves the tough business talk to his number two, Dominique D’Hinnin, former Lagardère financial director and current co-CEO. Dominique is the ‘real head of the company’ in most peoples’ take on the matter at least. 

Another in-house tradition is still intact, the proximity to the potentates. After Nicolas Sarkozy’s successful election on the 6th of May 2007, Arnaud Lagardère regularly made an appearance as ‘President’s mate’ in all articles that were concerned with Sarkozy’s enormous power over the media. However, he still remains the ‘friend’ instead of the ‘confidant’ as it is the case with Figaro publisher Serge Dassault, TF1-CEO Martin Bouyges (Sarkozy’s best man) or Bernard Arnault (The richest Frenchman, also the president’s best man, president of the LVMH luxury company, owner of financial newspaper La Tribune). The three latter were all among the 55 chosen ones who had been invited to the famous Dîner in Fouquet’s on the Champs-Élysées on the 6th of May to celebrate Sarkozy’s victory on election night. Arnaud Lagardère had not been allowed to come. Cécilia, the former Madama Sarkozy did not want to lay eyes on him at Fouquet’s after the society magazine Paris Match (Lagardère-Group) ran a cover story in August 2005 that was concerned with Cécilia and her lover (and husband to be). Arnaud Lagardère fired the editor-in-chief Alain Genestar and begged for forgiveness – to no avail.

Business Fields


Lagardère Publishing:
Gathered under the company Lagardère Publishing company division (The world’s second-largest publishing conglomerate with a revenue of 2, 273 billion EURO as of 2009) are France’s largest publishers (including publishing houses such as Grasset, Fayard, Stock, Calmann-Lévy, Lattès) and those of Great Britain (including Octopus, Orion, Hodder, Headline, Little Brown), while being at position number 2 in Spain (Amaya) and number 5 in the USA (including Grand Central Publishing, Little Brown): It is here where Hachette Livre registered the largest market growth rate in 2008 (+26%), thanks to the sensational success of the ‘Twilight’ series by Stephenie Meyer. Despite being considered by many to be the successor to Joanna K. Rowling and the recipient of many awards, many critical voices emerged in Germany: The narrative was allegedly full of “clichés” and “stereotypical” (Deutschlandradio), many claim that the respective ideology is “reactionary” (ZDF Aspekte), “oversexualized and non-emancipatory” (Die Welt). In 2008, the ‘Twilight’ series sold more than 25 million copies in the USA in 2008 and again more than 30 million in 2009. A total of 45 million in over 40 countries worldwide, on par with Dan Brown and Harry Potter. At the same time, Lagardère Publishing announces 17,000 new releases per year, which make up 50% of the revenues. 

Another look back: In 2006, the publishing business enjoyed a considerable rise of 20 percent in turnovers, the main reason being the purchase of the Time Warner Book group in February 2006. Through this 537 million $ deal, Lagardère Publishing transformed into the third largest book publisher in the world back in the day. It did not turn out to be an inconvenience that the Time Warner co-bidder was Rubert Murdoch after all. This particular circumstance gave the transaction a national dimension, making Lagardère the figurehead of an economically empowered France. 37,1 percent of Lagardère Publishing’s turnover in 2009 were generated in the USA and in Great Britain (2008: 37,4 %).

Lagardère Active:
The press business, the audiovisual (Radio/TV) and digital (Lagardère Digital France) activities as well as the marketing of advertising time (Lagardère Publicité) have been combined to become the Lagardère Active signet in 2006.

„Presse Magazine“:
Lagardère almost holds a monopoly on the French magazine market, publishes 212 titles in 45 countries as of today and is responsible for 71% of Lagardère Active’s turnover, releasing flagship publications such as weekly magazine Elle, sporting a further 42 editions worldwide, Paris Match, Car and Driver, Woman’s Day (both USA) as well as the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche. 

Radio and Internet:
he company’s radios are called Europe 1, French testimonial station in all things news and talk, Virgin Radio (formerly Europe 2, music for customers between 25 and 34) and RFM (Mainstream-Pop). In addition, Lagardère Active Radio International holds further shares of 29 radio stations in seven countries, received by more than 44 million listeners on a daily basis.

The television section is made up of television niche channels such as MCM music television family, Mezzo (Classical, Jazz), Canalj (4-14 year olds), Gulli, June (formerly Filles TV) and TIJI (Children). Production and licensing distribution have been bundled in 2008 to become Lagardère Entertainment. Including fiction produces such as Aubes-Telmondis, DEMD, GMT and Image & Compagnie as well as distribution company Europe Images International.

7,2 % of Lagardère Active’s turnovers were brought in by the Internet in 2009. The worldwide portfolio encompasses more than 100 websites with a monthly total of 80 million visitors, what earns them the second place in France, right behind TF1. The most successful Lagardère websites are: Doctissimo.fr, Elle.fr, Premiere.fr, Digitalspy.co.uk.

By the end of November 2006, it seemed that the tides of the famous Pay TV channel Canal+ would be turning when the merger of competitors Bouquets CanalSat (Canal+ Group / Vivendi) and TPS (TF1, M6) was announced. Heretofore, France had been the last European country with two rival platforms. Lagardère brought its 34 % stake of CanalSat to the table and received 20 % shares of Canal+ France in return.

Finally, it was announced on the 4th of March 2008: Lagardère signed up TF1 programming chef Takis Candilis (53) for the production division. The outspoken goal, according to Arnaud Molinié Président Lagardère Entertainment, was to steer the company’s political profile towards an increase in program production. In an interview, Takis Candilis elaborated further on the issue (5.3.2008): “The French TV-production is a shattered business. There are too many isolated and singular undertakings to make it possible to survive on the international market. Apart from Lagardère, there is no strong company that would be able to compete.”

Lagardère Services:
Lagardère Services is the largest international ‘Travel Retailer for press and books’, leading in (among others) the USA, Belgium, Spain and Hungary (for national press) and Belgium, Canada, Spain, Hungary and the Czech Republic for international press respectively. The Lagardère subsidiary employs over 11,000 people and maintains a network of 3,800 points of retail (Relay, Aelia) for culture and leisure products in 20 countries all over the world – especially on airports and train stations. In 2009, the company generated a rough two third of its turnover outside of France. Apart from print media, the product range includes music, film DVDs and other multimedia products.

Lagardère Unlimited:
When it comes to the marketing of athletics merchandise, Arnaud Lagardère puts his foot on the gas. In total, the group invested more than one billion Euros in this particular branch. In late May 2010, the acquisition of US sport marketer BEST (Blue Entertainment Sports Television) is announced (A.L.: “We cannot discuss the pricing at this point. Nobody does that in our business” and the business division was renamed from Lagardère Sports to Lagardère Unlimited. The newborn company went on to position itself as the acteur majeur on the sports market, represents 360 athletes coming from 12 disciplines, takes care of athlete academies’ management (Lagardère Paris Racing at the Bous de Boulogne, Saddlebrook/Florida) and is committed to a very clearly outlined goal: To give the current number one in the sport marketing business IMG (International Management Group) a run for their money and take over their prime spot within the next five years.

Furthermore, Lagardère Unlimited is home to sport licensing marketer Sportfive (Hamburg/Paris) which was bought in 2006 and (among other things) operates the complete marketing of eleven German national league (DFB) teams (including Borussia Dortmund, HSV, Bayer Leverkusen). In February 2009, Sportfive were awarded the transmission rights to 40 European countries for the Olympic Games 2014 (Sotschi, Russia) and 2016 (Rio de Janeiro) by the IOC. For the first time, an agency was awarded the rights over a European broadcasting union.

More subsidiaries of Lagardère Unlimited:
The World Sport Group (Singapore), the largest athletic agency in Asia, PRV Event, organiser of professional tennis tournaments, the Swedish athletic licensing agency International Events and Communication in Sports (IEC) since June 2007, the sports company Upsolut Sports AG from Hamburg since October 2007. The core competency: Planning and realization of large-scale endurance sport events (Bicycle race, Triathlon).

Further ‘non-strategic assets:” Apart from the aforementioned 7,5 percent of EADS (which will be sold within the next few years) and the 20% of Canal+ France (to be sold sooner rather than later), Lagardère holds 42% shares of the Groupe Marie Claire (which Arnaud Lagardère would like to sell due to difficult market circumstances, but failed to find an interested party as of yet), 17% of the renowned daily newspaper Le Monde and 25% of the Amaury-Group (Le Parisien, L’Equipe, organiser of large-scale sport events). In late May 2010, Lagardère showed interested in taking over the A.S.O. branch: The Amaury Sport Organisaton organises the Tour de France (among other things) and the Rallye Paris-Dakar. Yet, he did not find much requited love from Marie-Odile Amaury. One thing is evident: The Tour de France cannot be sold and now Lagardère looks to push off his Amaury shares. Whether he will find a buyer for this?

Organizational Chart



Institute of Media and Communications Policy


Germany's Federal Agency for Civic Education,


the city of Cologne, Germany,