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Taken over by daily newspapers, Presstalis becomes France Messagerie and restructures

Presstalis is saved. The commercial court of Paris ratified, Wednesday July 1, the takeover offer made by the French daily newspapers on the first distributor of the press in France. "As of tomorrow, France Messagerie will have to work tirelessly to perpetuate its economic model," announced, in a press release, Louis Dreyfus, president of the board of directors of the World and representative of the daily newspapers.

The company, born after the Second World War, will change its face. Renamed "France Messagerie", it will only employ 269 people, compared to just over 900 before it went into receivership on May 15. Since then, its regional subsidiaries (SAD and Soprocom) have been liquidated, resulting in the elimination of 512 positions. Distribution throughout the territory has not been fully restored: it is still disrupted in Marseille. Louis Dreyfus promises to "continue discussions to remove the last blockages".

127 million euros 
If the restructuring is so important, it is that the magazines and daily newspapers, which were previously shareholders of Presstalis, could not agree on the rescue of the company.

Many magazines preferred to rally the competitor, the Messageries lyonnaises de presse (MLP). Like CMI (Marianne, Elle, Télé 7 jours), whose owner, Daniel Kretinsky, is an indirect and minority shareholder in Le Monde. Prisma (Here, Femme Actuelle…) and Reworld (Biba, Marie France…) have halved the amount of sales by issue passing through the distributor and are no longer shareholders of the structure.

While Presstalis distributed 75% of the French press, representing more than 1 billion euros in newsstand sales, France Messagerie will have to settle for 600 million euros. "But it is much more than the 375 million to 380 million euros that we were targeting," argues within France Messagerie.

Floating France Messagerie will cost 127 million euros. The state plans to inject 80 million euros, which is in addition to the 95 million paid in recent months into Presstalis. This new envelope will be used to pay the 38 million euros linked to social plans. The remaining 47 million euros, funded by publishers, will be used in part for other departures: in 2022, the workforce could fall to 215 employees, according to the judgment of the commercial court consulted by Le Monde.

France Messagerie is only a first step: given the continuous decline in paper sales, the idea is, within three years, either to bring France Messagerie closer to MLP, or to back it up with another player logistics. In the meantime, French publishers have lost € 139 million in receivables - sales made before the bankruptcy - in the Presstalis bankruptcy.

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