Nice (AFP)

The regional daily Nice-Matin has taken steps to end its cooperative status with a view to its acquisition in full by the businessman Xavier Niel, was learned Friday from concordant sources.

"The general meeting of shareholders approved by a large majority the principle of the modification of the SCIC Nice-Matin which will thus lose its cooperative status (...)", announced the president of the supervisory board Jean-François Roubaud in a message to the staff after the GA whose AFP had a copy.

The Nice newspaper, which radiates to Toulon with Var-Matin, is 66% controlled by the group's 421 employee shareholders, via a cooperative society of collective interest (SCIC).

This status, which allowed in 2014 to avoid a restructuring, now prevents employee shareholders from receiving dividends from the resale of their shares, resulting in a transformation into a limited company (SA) that will take several weeks and is subject to to ministerial approvals.

At the time, employee shareholders had invested their 13th month to avoid layoffs.

Conceived by the French-Lebanese magnate Iskandar Safa who may not have said his last word according to observers, Nice-Matin is since this summer being bought by Xavier Niel, co-shareholder of Le Monde and who blew him priority.

On July 12, it acquired from the Belgian group Nethys 51% of the company Avenir Développement, holder of 34% of the newspaper.

"This sale is not called into question and Nethys has irrevocably committed to sell the remaining 49%", told AFP a source close to the case, while Nethys made the headlines in Belgium for various suspicions fueling all the rumors, and the fear, "unfounded" according to this source, that the sale of the shares of Nice-Matin is invalidated.

© 2019 AFP