Acquisition of RMC and BFMTV by CMA CGM: Is Rodolphe Saadé the anti-Bolloré billionaire of Emmanuel Macron ?

Acquisition of RMC and BFMTV by CMA CGM: Is Rodolphe Saadé the anti-Bolloré billionaire of Emmanuel Macron ?

In Marseille, the President of the Republic alongside the billionaire shipowner, Rodolphe Saadé. AFP POOL – LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL

After launching La Tribune Dimanche to compete with the JDD in the hands of conservative billionaire Vincent Bolloré, the Marseille shipowner number 3 in global maritime transport is now at the head of one of the leading French media groups after the takeover of Altice for 1.55 billion euros.

A new billionaire finds himself at the head of a small media empire. After Martin Bouygues (TF1), Vincent Bolloré (CNews, JDD, Europe 1…), Bernard Arnault (Les Echos, Le Parisien…) or Xavier Niel, (Le Monde and L’Obs) , Rodolphe Saadé, already owner of La Provence, La Tribune, La Tribune Dimanche, has just bought Altice Média (BFMTV and RMC). A sale which must still be validated, probably during the summer after a passage before the Competition Authority. 

Here is Rodolphe Saadé in the big leagues. Now at the head of one of the leading French media groups. But now the Marseille shipowner, born in Lebanon 54 years ago, is presented as Macron's anti-Bolloré weapon. Vincent Bolloré, boss of Vivendi who took over most of the media owned by the Lagardère group, is at the head of a very powerful media group:   Canal +, C8, CNews, CStar, Europe 1 and RFM radios, but also Télé-Loisirs, Géo, Gala, Voici, Femme Actuelle, Capital, Paris Match and the Journal du Dimanche… ; 

First Bernard Arnault

Media whose editorial lines are in the sights of Arcom, the media policeman. This week, a parliamentary commission of inquiry even interviewed the conservative billionaire and one of his most emblematic but also the most controversial employees, the host Cyril Hanouna . But the editorial line also disturbs even the highest levels of the State.

It's an understatement to say that President Macron is seeking to surround himself with powerful friends to rebalance the media sphere which leans very right with Bolloré's acquisitions.&nbsp ;In its edition of October 4, 2023, Le Canard chainé already recounted the closeness of the President and Rodolhpe Saadé presented as "Macron's new anti-Bolloré billionaire". The article recounts how Emmanuel Macron had sent the first French fortune  Bernard Arnault to the front to prevent Vincent Bolloré from acquiring JDD, Paris Match and Europe 1… in vain.< /p>

An expected opposition to the Bolloré media

It was after this failure that Macron turned to the shipowner, the fifth largest French fortune, to position himself in the takeover of Altice, owned by Patrcik Drahi, whose group, heavily in debt is "entangled in a corruption affair involving his associate Armando Pereira", tells the Chained Duck.

Estimated at 2 billion euros, the sale was finally concluded for 1.55 billion. A good deal for the buyer and for the Presidency of the Republic. In Libération, political communications expert Philippe Moreau-Chevrolet presents Rodolphe Saadé as "notoriously close to Emmanuel Macron and the Elysée" which will take "a strong position on the side of the moderate camp. This is the opposition that we expected in the media from Vincent Bolloré"

"Macron's favorite"

For Le Figaro, Rodolphe Saadé, "close to Macron" would be in & quot;search for influence". The daily presents the two men as "progressive, pro-business and liberal". Médiapart presented the billionaire as the< em> "Macron's favorite" in 2022. By recounting how the Elysée worked to "the spectacular rise" of the rich& ;nbsp;Lebanese businessman.

The 900 journalists and 1,700 employees of RMC and BFMTV are now waiting to know the conditions of the transition between the two billionaires: "We especially hope that the means editorial and independence will not be impacted", explains a member of the Society of Journalists. Which intends, moreover, not to become the voice of the government through the powerful antennas acquired. 

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