Rodolphe Saadé’s CMA CGM has had its €81m ($92m) bid for a controlling 89% stake in Marseille’s top newspaper, La Provence, approved by the paper’s board of directors.
As well as La Provence the media group, currently in the hands of creditors, also publishes Corse Matin in Corsica.
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.
Shipowners owning newspapers is nothing new. In Greece, Vangelis Marinakis has become one of the nation’s top media tycoons to go alongside his sprawling shipping and football empires. Likewise, Giannis Alafouzos is equally known in Greece for his media holdings as well as his shipowning interests.
In Norway, the Olsens own media group NHST, publishers of TradeWinds, via their control of the Bonheur Group while in Asia there have been many examples of shipping tycoons controlling media groups such as Robert Kuok’s tenure at the South China Morning Post. Elsewhere, the K K Birla Group, which owns the Hindustan Times newspaper also owns India Steamship Co, which has been running since 1928.