Business World

Friday 19 April 2019

Changes at Le Monde give Eir's Niel new headache

Xavier Niel is a shareholder in French newspaper Le Monde
Xavier Niel is a shareholder in French newspaper Le Monde

Independent.ie newsdesk

French billionaire Xavier Niel has been on the radar in Ireland since his vehicle Iliad led the takeover of Eir in 2018. Under the deal Niel's personal investment vehicle NJJ owns 32.9pc of Eir and Iliad - which he owns 52pc of - has a 31.6pc stake. But Niel has been in the news for all this wrong reasons this year, mainly due to the woes of stock in Iliad, which has had a difficult few months.

The latest trouble comes at Le Monde, the iconic French newspaper in which Niel is a shareholder.

Journalists are currently fighting to stop a Czech energy billionaire, Daniel Kretinsky, from taking control of the title after Lazard banker Matthieu Pigasse unexpectedly sold his stake. He had originally bought the paper with Niel in a gesture supportive of press freedom. According to the FT, relations between Pigasse and Niel are now strained.

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