Freight king to press baron? Rodolphe Saadé closes in on newspaper acquisition

Rodolphe Saadé will find out on May 9 whether or not he has become a press baron to add to his sprawling business empire.

Saade’s CMA CGM, which posted a net profit of $18bn last year, has bid €81m ($92m) for a controlling 89% stake in Marseille’s top newspaper, La Provence, a media group that liquidators are looking to sell following the death last year of previous owner, Bernard Tapie.

Saadé’s offer is being reviewed by the board of directors at La Provence with a decision to be announced on May 9. As well as La Provence the media group also publishes Corse Matin in Corsica.

Saadé, whose family is closely tied to Marseille, told Le Monde newspaper earlier this year that he wanted to buy La Provence as it was a title he enjoyed reading.

Cash-rich CMA CGM has been spending big of late, buying automotive logistics firm GEFCO as well as US-based Ingram Micro CLS and taking a majority stake in French parcel delivery company, Colis Prive. It also invested in Brittany Ferries while developing its own standalone freight airline during the container boom.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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