Paris (AFP)

The Le Monde group, which includes the eponymous daily and several magazines including Télérama, on Wednesday approved the creation of an endowment fund which must guarantee its independence, and at the same time announces that it will be a beneficiary in 2020.

As Xavier Niel, founder of the telecoms operator Free, had committed to it last December, the birth of the "fund for the independence of the press" was recorded on Wednesday during a supervisory board of the Le Monde group. .

This type of structure, already adopted by the online media Mediapart and the daily Liberation, "will perpetuate the capitalist independence of the group", assure in a press release, Louis Dreyfus, chairman of the management board, and Jérôme Fenoglio, vice-chairman of the management board and director of the World.

How? 'Or' What ?

This structure will hold in its midst the majority shares held by Xavier Niel's holding company in French media as well as its shares in the company Le Monde Libre, which controls the Le Monde and L'Obs group.

In this way, these participations "will be statutorily non-transferable" and any modification of this statute "cannot take place without a favorable vote of the representative of the pole of independence" (which brings together the companies of journalists, staff and readers), detail the leaders.

To ensure the proper functioning of this endowment fund, a board of directors was formed including among its members Nicole Notat, founder of the social rating agency Vigeo Eiris and the journalist Alain Frachon as qualified personalities.

Xavier Niel has appointed Roxanne Varza, director of the Station F incubator, and his eldest son, Jules Niel.

For his part, Matthieu Pigasse appointed Anne Le Lorier, former deputy governor of the Banque de France and a representative of the group's independence pole, Olivier Millot, president of the Télérama Staff Association.

During this supervisory board, the Le Monde group also presented its results for the year 2020, showing strong growth with net profit from the group's integrated companies reaching 13.7 million compared to 2.9 million in 2019.

"The group's publications all posted good progress in their paid circulation in 2020, in particular Le Monde, whose paid circulation increased by + 20.75%", it is underlined in the press release.

Also "in clear growth", the weekly M Le magazine du Monde, "the first editorial investment after the recapitalization of 2010, which shows in 2020 an increase in its paid circulation of + 24.71%", specifies the group.

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