In the Marseille court, Free’s boss won his appeal against the sale of the newspaper to the shipowner.
In Marseille, this Thursday, June 16, the commercial court has just signed the blockade of the proposed sale of La Provence (La Provence, Corsica-Press). Resolving the summary filed by Xavier Niel, the Marseille commercial court temporarily suspended the approval given on May 9 for the sale of the press group to CMA-CGM. The patron of Free et actionnaire de La Provence à hauteur de 11%, contestait le fait que cet agrément n’avait été donné que par deux voix sur cinq, puisque les représentants de sa holding NJJ ainsi que Stéphane Tapie, avaient été empêchés de voter In the last minute.
As soon as he stepped down from the board of directors on May 9, NJJ representative Anthony Maarek stood up “It is a passage in force”. For his part, Stéphane Tapie had granted his power of attorney to NJJ. He declares to Figaro “The power had been made in the rules. And I wanted my father’s last wishes to be respected. I wanted Xavier Niel to naturally take charge of Provence”.
SEE ALSO – Xavier Niel fired by La Provence employees
The substantive examination of the file begins on June 29. It can last several days or several weeks. This situation thus plunges Provence into the deepest uncertainty. Because, in fact, the commercial court of Bobigny, in charge of the file for the takeover of the 89% stake in the hands of the Bernard Tapie Group (GBT) in La Provence, was due to rule officially on June 22 on the sale to CMA-CGM. . . However, after the temporary suspension of the approval, the Bobigny judge should have no other option, next Wednesday, than to pronounce a suspension of the procedure or an extension of its deliberation.
What will become of La Provence then? Various scenarios are emerging. In the first place, we will have to wait for the decision on the merits of the Marseille court. If justice were to rule in favor of Xavier Niel, the process of selling La Provence would officially come to a halt. On the contrary, if he decides that the approval is finally valid, the sale could be resumed under certain conditions. “Everyone expects Xavier Niel to use all possible resources, resorting to the Court of Aix and then resorting to cassation if necessary. Which would last several years.“Comments someone close to the file. Faced with this scenario, the 850 employees of La Provence, trapped in a vice, try to remain optimistic. “In view of our critical financial situation, we hope that the Bobigny judge will still choose to register the sale to CMA-CGM, without waiting for the outcome of the various procedures initiated by Xavier Niel”, explains a representative of La Provence. For its part, CMA-CGM also has this eventuality.
More than eight months have passed since the battle between Xavier Niel and Rodolphe Saadé for La Provence has shaken the city of Marseille. The CMA-CGM capo, determined to disburse his first assets in the press, had not hesitated to put on the table 81 million euros for 89% of the capital, four times more than the estimated valuation. A blessing for the judicial liquidators, who seek to return to the State the debt of 400 million euros left by the late Bernard Tapie. The owner also planned to invest tens of millions of euros to replenish the coffers of the press group.