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France: the daily Liberation bailed out by the Czech billionaire Kretinsky

The businessman, already present in the capital of the daily newspaper Le Monde, will lend 14 million euros to the title to guarantee its financing for four years, according to a press release from the company Independent Press (PI), its owner.

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France: the daily Liberation bailed out by the Czech billionaire Kretinsky

The businessman, already present in the capital of the daily newspaper Le Monde, will lend 14 million euros to the title to guarantee its financing for four years, according to a press release from the company Independent Press (PI), its owner.

At the same time, the industrialist has undertaken to support, via its foundation, the "Endowment Fund for an Independent Press" (FDPI, majority shareholder of Independent Press), to which the Altice group sold Libé two years ago.

Support which will take "the form of a donation of one million euros and representation on the Fund's board of directors", according to an internal message from the director general of Liberation, Denis Olivennes.

The loan, granted by CMI, should make it possible to cover the losses of the title, in deficit despite strong growth in its sales, while preserving its "independence" under the hand of the FDPI, according to the press release, which does not specify what would happen in event of payment default within 4 years.

The FDPI "welcomes the arrival at its side" of a "new quality partner", seeing it as "a pledge of confidence in the future of the newspaper", according to the press release.

Also quoted, Mr. Kretinsky says he is "happy to participate in the perpetuation of an independent newspaper which is essential to democratic debate".

The return to break-even expected when it arrived in 2020 had been postponed from 2023 to 2026, due to slower-than-expected development in advertising, aggravated by the pandemic, the "level of departures under the transfer clause more higher than expected" or major investments such as increasing the workforce by 10%.

The daily, whose turnover rose by 10% in 2021, to 31.5 million euros, also reduced its operating losses to 7.9 million, against 12.3 million in 2020.

Since 2018, the Czech magnate, already at the head of a small media empire in his country and a powerful energy group, has bought the magazines of the Lagardère Active group (including the emblematic Elle), the weekly Marianne, 49 % of Matthieu Pigasse's shares in Le Monde and more than 5% of the TF1 group.

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