Matthieu Pigasse, majority co-shareholder of the World, tries to calm the game face the fears of the daily employees for the independence of their group, but refuses however that they fix all the conditions of a possible cession.
The investor, who sold 49% of its shares to Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, stressed in a letter to the World Independence Poles that he had always been favorable under conditions to a "right of approval" in the event of entry of a new majority shareholder.
But he warned that he would refuse a "right of repudiation" that would allow employees to choose him directly.
The journalists of the group Le Monde (the daily, Télérama, Courrier International) had expressed their concern in a forum facing a possible takeover of the world by Daniel Kretinsky, supported Friday by some 500 personalities.
Discussions could resume at the beginning of the week. The pole of independence could not be reached Saturday.
"It is I who proposed this right of approval, I am obviously in favor of it.The terms are still discussed," said Matthieu Pigasse in an interview with AFP.
Faced with concerns about the independence of the newspaper, the investor has solemnly assured that he will remain the majority shareholder on his part of the World he co-owns with the Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky, via the LNM company.
A new majority shareholder should fulfill "criteria of good repute, financial means and of course the commitment to respect the Group's rules of independence, allowing to exclude on an objective basis shareholders who are obviously contrary or incompatible with the values that are ours, "says the investor in his letter.
Employees would be informed "several months in advance".
- "A clause of inalienability" -
The other majority shareholder, Xavier Niel, has also validated this right of approval.
Remains the problem of price, a disagreement that "has not changed in six months," sighs a source close to the record.
In his letter to the pole of independence (which brings together employees, journalists and readers), Matthieu Pigasse refuses, however, that be added to this framework "clauses such that the right of approval becomes in reality a right of repudiation, and even in practice of an inalienability clause ".
In case of disagreement over the new majority shareholder, the independence pole "intends to set itself the resale price and go through an independent expert.This is not possible," said Matthieu Pigasse.
He wishes that any new buyer has "the obligation to buy back the participation under the same financial conditions".
Pigasse and Kretinsky are expected to complete by the end of the year the purchase of shares in the Spanish group Prisa, amounting to 46% of the capital of LML, the company that controls 75% of the capital of the daily.
If this movement is mostly symbolic, because it would not change their economic power because of the status of LML, it would break the balance that had prevailed since the recapitalization in 2010 by the trio Xavier Niel-Pierre Bergé-Matthieu Pigasse.
Matthieu Pigasse explains that he had to sell 49% of his shares to Daniel Kretinsky "in view of new financial charges and pressures of various natures".
"His commitment to pluralism and editorial independence, his European dimension, his talent as an entrepreneur make me an ideal partner," he said.
"I have neither the intention nor the goal to give up control of LNM and the co-control of the World", hammered Matthieu Pigasse Saturday. "The new shareholder is minority and passive, he has the rights of a minority, no more and no less".
In this case, "there was a bit of maliciousness, sometimes with a crime of dirty mouth, and a form of instrumentalization of the debate," denounced the investor.
© 2019 AFP