Lucky Luke fastest to draw for French publisher

Paris (AFP) –

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French publisher La Martiniere said Thursday that it was in merger talks with the Belgium-owned media giant behind the "Lucky Luke" comics.

Its founder Herve de La Martiniere said he saw a natural fit with Media-Participations, which owns the franchise for the laconic cowboy and his bumbling arch enemies "The Daltons", as well as the "Blake and Mortimer" adventures.

"We are considering our options for a closer connection between our two groups, in the form of an exchange of shares," he said in a statement added.

He said La Martiniere, the owner of US art and children's publisher Abrams Books, and its larger would-be Belgian partner "shared a similar international vision for a long time".

The group is home to the famed Editions du Seuil, one of France's most prestigious literary imprints, that made a fortune publishing Mao Zedong's "Little Red Book".

Media?Participations, which had a turnover of 355 million euros ($423 million) in 2016, is one of Europe's biggest publishers of Japanese manga comic through its "Kana" imprint.