The Paris Commercial Court has decided to close one of the oldest publications in France - France Soir newspaper. The lawsuit to the court was filed by the owner of the newspaper, Russian businessman Alexander Pugachev, the son of former Russian senator Sergey Pugachev.
Alexander Pugachev bought France Soir in 2009. At the time, the publication was on the verge of closing. But Pugachev initially invested € 20 million into the project, € 6 million of which went on the advertising campaign. At the same time, he appointed Christian de Vyulver to the position of editor and seriously changed the format of the articles and the list of topics covered.
As a result, France Soir circulation grew by 35% up to 76 thousand copies, and the audience of the online version increased 4.5 times. Inspired by the success, the owner set a team goal to achieve the daily circulation in 100-200 thousand copies in the near future.
In August 2010, Pugachev announced Christian de Vyulvera's dismissal and appointed Remy Dessar, who had previously participated in the launching of the German tabloid Bild, to the position of editor. This decision caused a riot in the journalistic team of France Soir. The staff of the newspaper issued a communiqué demanding to keep socio-political format of the publication. They threatened not to approve a new boss. Journalists feared that France Soir would become a tabloid similar to Bild, but Pugachev assured that it wouldn’t occur, and the conflict came to naught. However, even in March, France Soir showed the worst in its history sales result - the sales fell to 46 thousand copies. And the unprofitability of the publication reached € 1 million per month.
Then Pugachev announced the termination of the printed version of the publication output. As a result, the staff was reduced, and the publication completely passed to an online format. But it did not help any, and the Russian said that he was ready to sell France Soir for € 1 and noted that the newspaper still had not so much debt - "a total of about € 3 million." The only offer to purchase the publication came from Lafont media group, which agreed to buy a newspaper for the scandalously low amount of € 56 thousand and save 6 of 49 jobs. But the employees and trade union representatives unanimously refused the offer. After that, Pugachev explained to journalists that he had already spent total of € 80 million attempting to save the paper from bankruptcy, and then another € 10 million - to launch the site, but the result was not obtained. In May, he announced that he cut off funding of the publication.