Le Monde votes for takeover by French trio

25th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Le Monde's journalists' association, the paper's main shareholder, voted Friday for the daily to be taken over by three French investors who President Nicolas Sarkozy sought to block.

The consortium is made up of Pierre Berge, ex-partner of the late fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, Lazard banker Matthieu Pigasse and Internet tycoon Xavier Niel.

The journalists' association voted 90 percent in favour of their bid and rejected an offer by a group that includes France Telecom subsidiary Orange, the Nouvel Observateur group and Spain's Prisa, which owns El Pais newspaper.

Le Monde, France's flagship daily, is being crushed by a mountain of debt and put out a call to investors capable of injecting between 80 and 120 million euros (100 to 150 million dollars) to come to its aid.

The search for fresh capital turned political this month when Sarkozy stepped in and met with the publisher of the cash-strapped daily, Eric Fottorino.

The president told Fottorino that he opposed the Berge-Pigasse-Niel bid because of their ties to prominent left-wingers, drawing accusations from the opposition Socialist Party that Sarkozy was threatening press freedom.

© 2010 AFP

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