Battle for Le Monde Heats Up

Editor tries to keep Sarkozy ally from gaining control
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2008 4:37 PM CST
A fight for control of Le Monde is pitting the newspaper's staff against corporations holding minority stakes.   ((c) dev null)
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(Newser) – A showdown over the future of one of the world's most prestigious newspapers has come to a head after the editor in chief of Le Monde said he would fight to keep a bosom buddy of Nicolas Sarkozy's from taking over the paper. The French evening newspaper lost $14.5 million last year, Reuters reports, and editor Eric Fottorino is battling to keep employees from losing their role as majority shareholders.

The media conglomerate led by Arnaud Lagardère, Sarkozy's close friend, has floated plans to recapitalize Le Monde, which would water down the staff's control. But Fottorino, who is lobbying to become CEO of the newspaper's corporation, refuses to give an outside company a majority stake. "Behind the hand of Lagardère, one too often sees that of Nicolas Sarkozy," he said. "Sharing the roles would lift all ambiguities." (Read more Le Monde stories.)