21 Jul 2012

French media conglomerate, Hersant, sells French Polynesia interests

4:39 am on 21 July 2012

The French media conglomerate, Hersant, has sold its French Polynesian interests, including its two daily newspapers, to three local businessmen for an undisclosed sum.

The three - Richard Bailey, Paul Chichong and Marc Collins - have each acquired a third of their new company, Media Polynesia.

They say the acquisition of Les Nouvelles de Tahiti and La Depeche de Tahiti is a financial investment and they have no intention to change their editorial line.

The sale, which comes after 16 months of negotiations, is part of Hersant's efforts to reduce its debts.

The Hersant-owned daily newspaper in New Caledonia is also for sale, triggering concern among its journalists that it may lose what they say is their hard won editorial independence.