"La Provence" announces that it has validated the takeover bid for CMA CGM

“La Provence” announces that it has validated the takeover bid for CMA CGM

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In front of the Marseille headquarters of “La Provence”, in Marseille, on February 15, 2022.

Two votes to zero. The board of directors of provence, which normally has five members, baroquely and unexpectedly approved the takeover bid proposed by the shipowner CMA CGM during a stormy meeting on Monday, May 9, at the Marseille headquarters of the press group. In reference to the presence of a conflict of interest between the two representative directors of Avenir Développement, owned by NJJ, the holding company of Xavier Niel (individual shareholder of the World), also a takeover candidate, chairman and CEO of Lin Provence, Jean-Christophe Serfati refused to take into account their votes opposing the CMA CGM project. He also refused to count the voting delegation of the fifth director, Stéphane Tapie, who, absent, had empowered Mr. Niel’s representative, Anthony Maarek, to oppose the shipowner’s offer.

According to Mr. Serfati, the son of Bernard Tapie, representing the Bernard Tapie Group (GBT), could not validly grant a proxy to a director representing another shareholder. This surprise procedure, carried out in the presence of the two judicial liquidators of GBT, allowed the executive director Provence, also chairman of the board of directors, to announce at the end of the afternoon on the company esplanade that the €81 million takeover bid by Rodolphe Saadé, owner of CMA CGM, had just been validated. His vote and that of the Secretary General of Provence, Virginie Layani, who recently replaced Franz-Olivier Giesbert on the board of directors, was enough to overturn the decision.

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A procedure immediately questioned in an NJJ press release that evokes “a rough step in force” and does a very different calculation of votes: “Most of the directors did not approve this transfer project, which makes it obsolete”. Xavier Niel’s representatives also denounced the presence in Marseille of the jurist Nicolas Molfessis, professor at the University of Paris-II-Panthéon-Assas, who, in the preamble, presented the risks of conflict of interest run by NJJ representatives.

“A long and difficult wait for employees”

From his tower located a few hundred meters away, the president of CMA CGM welcomed the decision of the board of provence Approve “unanimously” his offer However, Rodolphe Saadé’s company is careful to point out that “The directors representing the minority shareholder could not validly cast their vote”. “This ends a long and difficult wait for employees whose representatives wanted approval from CMA CGM,” the Marseille company stands out. The shipowner has already set a 36-month calendar to implement his 50 million euro plan to reactivate a newspaper that loses readers every year. On March 24, the six CSEs of provence Y Tomorrow Corsica, on behalf of the group’s 850 employees, gave a favorable opinion on this investment plan.

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