The Belgium-French group Média Participations is the largest publisher of comic books in Europe. Sixty percent of the company's new titles each year are bandes dessinées, or comics, which account for sales of 20 million from an overall 32 million. 2010 has seen modest growth from the continuous exploitation of the previously acquired stocks, as well as strategic investments in digital in-house developments.

Média Participation principal brands are the comic book publishers Dargaud, Dupuis, Le Lombard, and Kana (manga); Citel Video; Dargaud-Marina; Ellipsanime; multimedia companies Dupuis Audiovisuel and Anuman Interactive; children's book publisher Fleurus; and religion publisher Mame. Cartoon brands include Blake et Mortimer; Lucky Luke; Les Schtroumpfs (Smurfs); Blueberry; the series XIII and Thorgal; and more recent blockbusters such as Isaac le pirate and Blacksad. Citel Video gains multimedia revenue from Astérix, Tintin, Babar, Caroline, and Corto Maltese.

Média Participations also runs its own production studios, resulting in a yearly output of roughly 1500 hours of TV programs, and is involved in other publishing activities such as the magazine Rustica.

The controlling holding company, MP Belgique, is under Belgium law, initiated in 1985 by former long time politician Rémy Montagne, and set up in today’s configuration in 1991 by his son Vincent Montagne, with a vast majority of the shares held by the Montagne family and a minority stake by Axa insurance company.

Média Participations has a staff of roughly 1,000, with offices in France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and the U.S.

Key Company Developments in 2012

Financial:

Média Participationsdoes not release any detailed financial data other than annual revenues. Flat from 2011 to 2012, the group had previously shown modest, yet steady organic grows over the past several years.

Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization:

The current President and CEO, the son of the company’s founder, took over in 2007. In 2012, Vincent Montagne was elected to be the president of the French publishers association, SNE, taking over the position from Antoine Gallimard.

International:

n/a

Digital:

n/a

Bestselling authors & titles:

n/a

Key Points for Analysis & Conclusions:

n/a

Earlier Developments:

A key moment in the group’s history occurred in 2004 when a bid for the French publishing group Editis, then held by Lagardère/Hachette, failed. Yet in that same year, Média Participations acquired the Belgium comic book publisher Dupuis from Albert Frère for 102 million EUR, turning the company into Europe’s leading powerhouse for comic books.

In 2006, comic books represented 31% of the group’s revenues, with 400 albums published (with Mangas representing one third).

Click here to return to the full listing of the world's largest publishers.