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Hachette Will Focus on U.K. Market
Herbert R. Lottman -- 9/14/98
Contrary to early reports, the French buyers of Britain's Orion group do not plan to move with undue haste into American publishing. Taking a position similar to that of its chief competitor, Groupe de la Cite (now Havas), which deliberately chose to enter English-language publishing via Britain, Hachette Livre CEO Jean-Louis Lisimachio has made it clear that the U.K. is the prime target and not simply a side door into the U.S. market. According to Lisimachio, Britain "grows closer and closer to [France], and has become sensitive to a European culture, which will facilitate the drawing up of projects in common."
In an interview with French trade weekly Livres Hebdo's Fabrice Piault, the Hachette executive recognized that Orion management had expressed the hope for an early move across the Atlantic. "Why not? But our strategy will be to strengthen operations in Britain first of all, growing organically and by acquisition there." However, Hachette has a clear commitment to general publishing outside of France, including Orion's role in exporting its authors to the U.S.

International expansion, Lisimachio revealed, has the strong support of Arnaud Lagardere, head of the eponymous group that owns Hachette. He told Livres Hebdo that Hachette had forked over L25 million for its 70% of Orion.
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