The twin dramas of Hersant group and Presstalis are about to reach a temporary conclusion. Nothing is really settled but there are some openings.
As far as Hersant is concerned, the banks have agreed to the sale of the eastern dailies to Rossel. The managers of the Belgian group will have a tough job to reduce drastically the bloated printing staff of Union de Reims but they know well the dossier and they are ready.
Nothing is done yet for the Southern dailies. Ebra is not interested so it is very likely that local investors will offer proposals for Nice Matin and la Provence, two newspapers whose sales have gone down dramatically but can be profitable at least for a while.
The next regional newspaper group to face trouble in 2013 is Sud Ouest. Its private owners have every good reason to be worried. The fall of advertising and sales don't leave them much hope of a profit and the price offered for Hersant dailies is a very bad reference for a future sale of Sud Ouest and Midi Libre. However, it is probably better to get rid of these publications next year rather than letting them fall even lower.
Presstalis is in an even tighter corner. The salvation plan that was made public last week can let it survive for one more year but not much longer. The obvious solution is to split the delivery of newspapers and magazines. National dailies can be taken care of by the regional newspapers and magazines by a new organization supported maybe by Geodis.
More than ever before, the press has to find a strategy for Internet. We'll go back to it soon.