The Belgium-French group Media Participations is the largest comic book publisher in Europe, publishing roughly 1,000 new titles per year. Bandes dessinées, or comics, represent sixty percent of the catalog, with sales of 20 million from an overall 32 million. The company saw modest growth in 2013 from previously acquired stocks, as well as investments in digital in-house developments.
Média Participations’s main brands include comic book publishers Dargaud, Dupuis, Le Lombard, Urban Comics and Kana (manga); multimedia companies Citel Video, Dargaud-Marina, Ellipsanime, 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, series like XIII, and Thorgal, as well as more recent blockbusters such as Isaac le pirate or Blacksad. Citel Video gains revenue from licensing rights of Astérix and Tintin as well as Babar, Caroline, and Corto Maltese.
Media Participations also runs its own television studios and publishes magazines such as Rustica.
The company is owned by Belgian holding company MP Belgique, founded in 1985 by former politician Rémy Montagne and currently run by his son Vincent Montagne. Most of the shares are held by the Montagne family, with a minority stake held by Axa insurance company.
Média Participations has a staff of 1,150 in France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and the USA.
Key Company Developments in 2013
Média Participations does not release any detailed financial data other than annual revenues, which went up 3% from 2012 to 2013. The group had previously shown modest yet steady organic growth over the past several years.
Ownership, Mergers & Acquisition, Internal Organization
Current President and CEO Vincent Montagne, son of the company’s founder, took over in 2007. Montagne was elected president of the French publishers association, SNE, in 2012, taking over from Antoine Gallimard.
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 titles published (manga representing on third).