May 26, 2023
French Billionaire Saade Pursues Media Hunt With Tribune Bid
(Bloomberg) -- French shipping tycoon Rodolphe Saade is adding another media outlet to his fast-growing stable of publications with a pledge to acquire a French online business daily.
CMA CGM SA has agreed to acquire all of Groupe Hima, publisher of La Tribune, according to a statement from the world’s third-largest container line on Friday. No terms were given and the deal still needs approval from regulators.
The planned acquisition is part of Saade’s strategy to develop a media division within his family’s closely held shipping company and comes shortly after CMA CGM agreed to its largest purchase to date, the acquisition of Bollore SE’s logistics arm for an enterprise value of €5 billion ($5.4 billion).
Saade has amassed a series of media assets in recent months, including a stake in online youth-focused Brut. Last year he bought La Provence, a regional newspaper based in the southern city of Marseille, where his family’s company has its headquarters. He has also acquired a 10% stake in French broadcaster M6.
Read More: Billionaire Saade Joins Murdoch, Niel, Pinault in Media Bet (2)
La Tribune is profitable with sales of €12 million last year and has 17 hubs in France and Africa, the statement said. The publication organizes editorial events and has a team based in Casablanca charged with expansion on the African continent.
Saade’s swoop on La Tribune would further concentrate the French media industry in the hands of ultra-wealthy owners.
Luxury billionaire Bernard Arnault has come under pressure after the journalist guild at his Les Echos newspaper — a rival to La Tribune — raised questions over the mogul’s possible role in the editor-in-chief’s departure. The world’s richest person also owns Radio Classique.
Newspaper of record Le Monde is owned by a group of investors including telecommunications tycoon Xavier Niel and Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.
Le Figaro, another prominent paper, is owned by Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault SA, the holding company of the Rafale aircraft-making Dassault family. Billionaire Vincent Bollore controls media conglomerate Vivendi SE, through which he holds pay-TV group Canal+, radio station Europe1, and Paris Match magazine, among other media assets.
Telecom mogul Patrick Drahi holds properties including BFM TV, while construction and telecoms firm Bouygues SA — controlled by the Bouygues family — is the biggest shareholder in Television Francaise 1 SA, operator of France’s most-watched channel.
Read More: Billionaire Arnault Under Fire Over Possible Media Meddling
--With assistance from Benoit Berthelot.
(Adds details on French media industry.)
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