The banker Matthieu Pigasse is going to have "a calm discussion" in "the next few days" with businessman Xavier Niel about their dispute in the crisis of the newspaper Le Monde, of which they are co-shareholders, he said in an interview in the Sunday Journal.
"There have certainly been misunderstandings, misunderstandings, sometimes disputes between us, perhaps because we have not spoken enough," said Pigasse.
"But the time has come for us to meet again: we will see each other in the next few days to have a calm and calm discussion on the future of the group," he added.
In recent weeks, employees of the Le Monde group (the daily, Télérama, Courrier International) have expressed strong fears for its independence.
Mr Pigasse sold 49% of his shares in the group to Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky a year ago and employees fear that the latter will finally gain control.
Thursday, to try to calm the game, Mr. Pigasse finally agreed to grant the "right of approval" long claimed by the newspaper's Independence Center (a structure that represents employees, journalists and readers).
In addition, he proposed to Xavier Niel (with whom he had recapitalised the World in 2010 alongside Pierre Bergé, since deceased) to buy together the shares of the Spanish group Prisa in the newspaper, in order to maintain the balance between their participations in Le Monde. Prisa controls 20% of the world.
But in the process, Mr. Niel countered by making much more radical proposals to ensure the long-term independence of the newspaper.
First, he claims to be in favor of buying the Prisa shares, but only if he and Pigasse return the Spanish group's shares to the Independence Pole. Above all, he advances the idea of creating a foundation to "sanctuarise" the independence of the daily to which would be brought the entirety of the capital of the World.
"I do not have his fortune: I can not give my titles even if I wanted," reacted Mr. Pigasse in the JDD.
"You have to talk to Xavier Niel, and buying Prisa shares at 50-50 seems like a good answer, a solution of appeasement," he said. But if Xavier Niel "puts in condition to be able to give them, I can not," he insisted.
© 2019 AFP