Portugal-based investment fund Alpac Capital has officially taken control of the capital of European news channel Euronews, the latter announced on Tuesday.
Alpac signed a commitment in December to buy back the 88% stake in the company held by Egyptian tycoon Naguis Sawiris through its holding company MGN, and was awaiting Percy’s green light for the move.
The Economy Ministry verified it on May 20, a Euronews spokesman told AFP.
“Europe has experienced a period of instability in the last decade, from financial crises, to health and now to the military crisis. (…) To be even more efficient and strong, the EU must be “ever more democratic and responsible: none of this would be possible without a strong and free press” explained in a press release the CEO of Alpac, Pedro Vargas David.
According to a spokesperson for Euronews, who did not disclose the amount of capital acquired or planned investments, Alpac manages a fund of around 500 million euros from Portugal. He works in the energy, financial and industrial sectors. The Euronews acquisition “marks the beginning of investment in the media sector”. From the same source, the fund has groups in Lisbon, Budapest and Dubai.
The new owner of this Lyon-based channel, launched in 1993 by around twenty European TV stations, intends to confirm its “unique European DNA”, “by strengthening the dialogue with members of the European Parliament and the Commission”, “the dynamics of continuous digitization” and “of its diversification activities”.
Euronews’ minority shareholder, Russian channel RTR, is leaving the capital amid Albakh’s entry, a source familiar with the matter said.
Portuguese journalist Graça Franco, former information director of a major Portuguese radio station, Radio Renaissance, and moderator for RTP (Public Television), has been appointed head of the editorial board.
Euronews, hit by a drop in its advertising revenue after the Covid-19 pandemic, announced a social plan in November 2020 that led to the departure of around thirty employees, including ten forced departures out of around 500 employees.
However, the chain announced in December that it would end 2021 with “clear improvement”, with a lower-than-expected (-13 to -14 million euros) operating loss on revenue of 75 million.
The new director general of the channel, Guillaume Dubois, former CEO of BFM TV (2009-2016) and antenna of LCI (2021-2022), confirmed the goal of parity “by 2023”.
Euronews is now broadcast in 160 countries.
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