Bollore: luxury yacht and media empire

9th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 9, 2007 (AFP) - Controversy over a few days of holiday taken by French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy aboard a luxury yacht turns largely on the media interests of the owner of the boat, Vincent Bollore.

PARIS, May 9, 2007 (AFP) - Controversy over a few days of holiday taken by French president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy aboard a luxury yacht turns largely on the media interests of the owner of the boat, Vincent Bollore.

Hugely wealthy, he has built an industrial conglomerate out of the Bollore company of which he acquired control in 1981.

Much of the criticism of the decision by Sarkozy to accept an invitation to stay with his family aboard the board is aimed at a possible conflict of interest; but Sarkozy has retorted that Bollore is not involved in contracts with the state.

During the presidential election campaign, rival candidates raised questions over what they considered Sarkozy's unduly close connections with the media.

The Bollore business, founded in 1822 to specialise in paper for making bibles, now has annual sales of nearly six billion euros (8.2 billion dollars) and employs more than 32,000 people throughout the world.

Its interests range from companies in transportation and international logistics, particularly in Africa, to plastic film for packaging, the distribution of energy, printing terminals, ticketing machines and check-in terminals.

In recent years it has expanded mainly in the media industry, launching a French television channel called "Direct 8", a free evening newspaper called "Direct Soir" and a free morning paper, with the Le Monde group, called "Matin Plus".

And Vincent Bollore is said to be interested in the French economic daily newspaper, "Les Echos".

Bollore is the biggest shareholder in French advertising group Havas, owning 31.0 percent at the end of June. He has also increased his interest in British advertising giant Aegis to 29.0 percent.

In September he bought 40 percent of the holding company behind French market research and opinion polling company CSA.

His group has an interest in Euro Media, an audio and film production and cinema company. He holds 10 percent of Gaumont cinemas and controls Streampower, a company specialising in audi and video broadcasting over the Internet.

In 2006, he obtained 49 French regional licences for high-capacity, wireless Internet connections. He hopes to develop this network in a few months' time and to make it available to customers in 2008 or 2009.

His group has interests in plantations, mainly through Socfinal which has interests in palmoil, coffee and roses, and through Socfinasia.

In 2001, the Bollore group obtained an interest in Italian investment bank Mediobanca and in March he bought Canadian battery manufacturer Avestor.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article