L'Espresso says not interested in Le Monde
Italian publisher L'Espresso said Wednesday it was not interested in making an offer to purchase a majority stake in French daily Le Monde, a step that Spanish group Prisa said required a far-reaching audit.
"The Espresso group studied the file on the recapitalisation of Le Monde," the company said in a statement.
"In current conditions, it decided not to present an offer."
In Madrid, a spokeswoman for Prisa, which already has a more than 15 percent stake in Le Monde, said that "only a comprehensive audit could provide the candidates with an opportunity to refine their assessment of Le Monde's re-capitalisation needs."
Ringier, the publisher of Switzerland's Le Temps on Tuesday, disclosed that it would not bid for the French daily.
In addition to Prisa, which publishes Spain's El Pais newspaper, other potential bidders are France's Nouvel Observateur group and a trio of investors that include Pierre Berge, the former partner of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
Falling advertising revenues, dwindling circulation, the challenge of the Internet and the economic downturn have left Le Monde, like many of the world's newspapers, struggling to survive.
© 2010 AFP