A bastion of the French left wing press has been saved from its financial crisis by a member of the Rothschild banking dynasty. Edouard de Rothschild will inject 20 million euros into the ailing newspaper Liberation, which was set up in the early seventies by Maoists in the spirit of the French student uprisings of 1968. Rothschild intends to build a new media group around the paper. He now becomes the biggest shareholder with 37% of the stock.With the influx of fresh capital, the staff see their ownership fall from 36% to 19% and the French cinema group Pathe has 17.3%. The Rothschild deal was only allowed to go ahead after a majority of the paper’s staff (57%) voted for it. Rothschild has guaranteed not to interfere with editorial content. All French newspapers have been suffering financially as readers turn to the internet, free papers and television for their news. The conservative daily Le Figaro was recently bought by defence tycoon Serge Dassault, who was then criticised for his heavy-handed editorial interventions.
Money man and Maoists make strange media bedfellows.