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Provence: Xavier Niel and CMA-CGM interested in taking over Bernard Tapie's shares


An extraordinary economic and social council (CSE) was held on Thursday, October 21 to present the expressions of interest of the businessman and the maritime group to the employees of the Marseille newspaper.

After the death of Bernard Tapie on October 3, the future of the La Provence Group is being organized.

Through his companies, the late businessman owned 89% of the newspaper

La Provence

in Marseille.

While Xavier Niel, the boss of Free and a personal shareholder of the Le Monde Group, has an 11% stake in the capital, via his holding company NJJ.

He had recovered in 2019 the shares of the Belgian group Nethys.

Read alsoHow the press boss Bernard Tapie saved


from drowning

Since then, Xavier Niel has positioned himself as the natural buyer of shares in Provence, held by Bernard Tapie.

The latter's companies having been placed in compulsory liquidation in April 2020, after the cancellation of the arbitration in the Crédit Lyonnais case and the sale of Adidas in the 1990s, which ordered him to repay 400 million d 'euros.

The file is in the hands of the administrator Frédéric Avazeri at the Commercial Court of Bobigny.

CMA-CGM takes part in the discussions

In recent weeks, however, another candidate has joined the discussions, as revealed by

La Lettre A.

The international maritime group CMA-CGM, headed by Rodolphe Saadé and headquartered in Marseille, has also filed with the liquidator a

"expression of interest in order to participate in the tender procedure for the acquisition of 89% of Provence",

specifies a spokesperson for the group.

An extraordinary economic and social council (CSE) of Provence was held this Thursday, October 21 at 2 p.m. to present the expressions of interest of Xavier Niel and CMA-CGM to the union representatives of the employees of


During the meeting, the judicial liquidator clarified the terms of the call for tenders, the takeover procedure as a whole and the role that the CSE will play. Frédéric Avazeri will have to designate the buyer of the 89% of Provence, depending on the quality of the offers submitted: between the industrial project, the guarantees in terms of jobs and the purchase price.

“We will specify our ambitious project for Provence when the call for tenders is officially launched.

Our ambition is to increase the territorial and regional anchoring of the reference newspaper of the regional daily press, as well as to guarantee its editorial independence in the long term,

”specifies a spokesperson for CMA-CGM.

The tender procedure will be closed on November 30th.

It will be preceded by an audit of the financial and industrial situation of the newspaper.

Xavier Niel's right of first refusal

Representatives of the Syndicate of Journalists of


are so far more favorable to Xavier Niel's takeover offer. The latter has in the articles of association a right of approval on a possible buyer and a right to purchase as an expert and in the agreement with the companies of Bernard Tapie, a right of pre-emption on the 89 % of the capital of

La Provence


In recent months, the boss of Free has increased investments in the region to build a real press group. Shareholder of the Nice-Matin Group, Xavier Niel then took over

Paris Turf


France Antilles

. By 2024, a common printing press in



La Provence

should also see the light of day in Le Var. Finally, as part of the upcoming buyout of 49% of the shares of the newspaper Corse Matin, currently held by the consortium of Corsican companies Corsica Maritama Holding (CMH), La Provence received a loan from Xavier Niel.

Last year, La Provence's losses amounted to seven million euros.

At the end of January 2021, the daily sold its Marseille headquarters, the 2.3 hectare Mediterranean Press Center, located in the Bougainville district (15th arrondissement), for more than 35 million euros to real estate developer Constructa.

The editorial staff must pack up before 2023.

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2021-10-21

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