Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The worth of newspapers

One of the major upheavals in the press industry has been the abysmal fall of the value of newspapers. In the US where the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune are on sale, their value has gone down by 90% in ten years. None of them is worth more than 100 millions dollars as compared to a billion in the late nineties.

It is of course the same in France. If the group Sud Ouest which is badly in need of cash sells the Midi Libre, it can hardly expect more than 30 millions. Not enough to satisfy the banks, CIC and BNP Paribas, who are the main creditors of the fledgling enterprise. And the Lemoine family and its 30 members would have a lot of trouble to sell the whole group Sud Ouest. Not only its value would be very low, probably inferior to 100 millions, but there is no obvious buyer. The French press groups are too much in trouble to move and no foreigner is much interested by the troubled French landscape.

Magazines and notably newsmagazines do not fare any better. If Rick de Nolf wants to sell l'Express or François Pinault tries to get rid of le Point, they cannot expect any bonus. Potential buyers are rare and tight on money. And yet, it is obvious that the newsmagazines are too many to survive the Internet revolution. Wait a bit. More change is coming.