Hersant family is going to face its biggest challenge and the group survival seems highly doubtful. Last week the union Filpac CGT published on its website a well documented statement reminding the government that Philippe Hersant, the Group chairman had invested his money in profitable newspapers i n Switzerland while his French publications were on the brink of bankrupcy.
The court has nominated an expert who should try to negociate, before September 30 an agreement with the banks. Group Hersant owes 200 millions euros to its 17 bank creditors. Needless to say the bankers will never see their money back and nobody can oblige Philippe Hersant to use his Swiss assets worth about 100 millions as collateral.
So, the most likely outlook is the sale before the end of the year of the various Hersant newspapers, Union, Ardennais, Provence, Nice Matin and some more. Who is going to buy is anybody's guess. It seems that Rossel is still interested by some dailies and Michel Lucas, the powerful boss of EBRA could try to get La Provence which would be a nice complement to his South East daily le Dauphiné. It is the dramatic end of a long story.