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EU investigating if Vivendi prematurely proceeded with acquisition of Lagardere

EU antitrust regulators are checking whether French media conglomerate Vivendi closed its acquisition of French publisher Lagardere before securing regulatory approval, the European Commission said on Thursday.

Such so-called gun jumping can result in fines of up to 10% of a company’s group aggregate turnover. The EU antitrust watchdog has in recent years cranked up fines for such offences as a deterrent.

The EU executive said it was alerted by media reports but has not opened a formal investigation yet.

“The Commission was made aware of allegations of gun jumping, which have been reported in the press. The Commission can confirm that it is looking into the matter,” the EU executive said in an email.

The EU competition enforcer last week cleared the deal with conditions. Infringement proceedings are handled separately from the merger review.

“It is not Vivendi’s policy to comment on current or future investigations. Nevertheless, Vivendi has scrupulously complied with the rules and will continue to do so until the remedies have been implemented.” Reuters

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