CMA CGM boss Rodolphe Saade is poised to become a newspaper boss after compatriot tycoon Xavier Niel withdrew from bidding for La Provence, Marseille's best-selling newspaper.
In May, La Provence approved CMA CGM's US$81 million bid to acquire an 89% stake in the newspaper. Niel's holding company, NJJ, which holds an 11% stake in La Provence, has agreed to sell its interest to CMA CGM, ending months of legal wrangling with the French carrier.
The battle for control over La Provence began last October, after La Provence's previous majority owner, Bernard Tapie, died from stomach cancer. The liquidators of Bernard Tapie Group, which managed Tapie's interest in La Provence, invited tenders for the shares in February. However, Niel contested the stake sale, on the basis that he had the right of refusal, as a minority shareholder. His applications were all dismissed by Marseille's courts and Neil retreated from his bid on 30 August.
In a joint statement, La Provence and CMA CGM said that they publicly welcome the fact that La Provence can "have, with CMA CGM, a stable sole shareholder" and an agreement that marks "the end of the ongoing legal proceedings".
In a statement to AFP, Saade said, "I welcome this agreement. It will allow us to work with all the employees of La Provence and Corse Matinto set up our development and recovery project. A new chapter in the history of these two press titles will be able to begin."