After months of tension and a hectic week, the co-shareholders of Monde Matthieu Pigasse and Xavier Niel made peace on Monday by engraving in the marble the right of approval requested by the newspaper's Independence Pole, and by putting at the study the proposed foundation proposed by Mr. Niel to perpetuate the independence of the daily.
The good news for the employees of Le Monde fell in the evening, in the form of a message sent to them by the Independence Pole, a structure bringing together the companies of the staff, the company of the readers and the minority shareholders of the group. Press.
In this text, the representatives of the Pole reported that during a meeting on Monday evening, Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse "reaffirmed their commitment to consolidate and strengthen the editorial independence of the group through the right of approval and reflection on the creation of a foundation ".
"They then signed with the Pole of Independence a document establishing irrevocably the terms and conditions of the right of approval, which becomes effective from this day," reported the Pole of Independence, welcoming this positive outcome for the future of everyday life.
This new development closes a particularly eventful sequence between the World and its main shareholders, MM. Pigasse and Niel, who threatened to turn into a duel between these two businessmen.
Thursday, Mr. Pigasse had yielded to the requests of the editorial staff of the newspaper, which demanded the obtaining of a right of approval, that is to say a sort of right of inspection on the evolution of the capital of the newspaper.
This right had been under discussion for a year, and had been demanded by the Division after the sale of 49% of Mr. Pigasse's shares in Le Monde to Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.
This surprise overthrow of Mr. Kretinsky in the capital of the World last year had caused concern in the newspaper, many fearing that the billionaire does not seek to take control of the World by subsequently buying the rest of the participation of Mr. Pigasse.
Mr. Pigasse announced Thursday to have "signed" an agreement on this right of approval, but, according to the Pole of Independence, in terms different from those accepted by Mr. Niel.
In addition, Mr. Pigasse had proposed to Mr. Niel to buy equally the participation of the Spanish group Prisa in the World, to maintain their shares in the newspaper at the same level.
- "turn the page" -
But Mr. Niel then went on with more radical proposals to ensure the future of the daily, consisting of buying the shares of Prisa to offer them to the Pole of Independence, and he had also suggested to transfer his shares and those of M Pigasse in a foundation to preserve the independence of the capital of the World.
Advertisements that sounded like a provocation vis-à-vis Mr. Pigasse, which has been indebted to invest in the World and does not have the same financial means as the telecom troublemaker.
However, in a joint interview to appear Tuesday in the Figaro, the two businessmen confirmed to have found a common ground and overcame their "misunderstandings", and this, for the good of the World: they will indeed to think "together" about the creation of a foundation "in which we would bring 100% of our participations", according to Xavier Niel, and this to "strengthen and perpetuate the independence of the group".
"We both want to turn the page of recent episodes," assured Mr. Pigasse in this interview crossed Figaro.
However, the founder of Free recognizes that this project "will not be easy", especially given "different financial means of both parties".
"We do not have a timetable," he said, not wanting to rush things. For his part, the business banker assured that his ally Mr. Kretinsky "actively supports this agreement in which he fully participated as well as our discussions".
When tensions with the writing of the World, unprecedented since the recapitalization of the newspaper in 2010 by the trio Bergé / Niel / Pigasse, it was a "classic crisis in a couple", and the outcome is very favorable to the journalists of the daily newspaper, since they obtained the right of approval, commented Mr. Niel.
© 2019 AFP