Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The death of Hersant group

20 years ago, groupe Hersant kept a domineering position in the French media world although it had already pulled out of radio broadcasting and television. These days, Philippe Hersant is putting the final hand to the sale of his French newspapers, under the combined pressure of his 17 bankers and Siri, the government agency in charge of failing companies.

The buyer is Rossel, the Belgian press groupe, owner of Le Soir of Brussels and Voix du Nord. The highly professionnal Rossel team is fully aware of the pitfalls that threaten the dailies on sale. Union of Reims is losing a lot of money thanks to a bloated printing unit that used to print millions of Comareg free sheets. Nice Matin and Provence must reduce their staff and keep a good relationship with the local government that provides them with a great part of their advertising. The new management will have to cut about 500 jobs. It will also consider the only newspaper remaining in Hersant group, Paris Normandie. The publication is close to bankrupcy. Sooner or later Rossel is bound to take it under its own conditions and try to save the dying newspaper.

Still, the outcome doesn't look so bad. With a proper management, the new group should be profitable and follow the rules that make Voix du Nord a dynamic corporation, very active in Internet, radio and local television.