Businessman Alexander Pugachyov, the son of Russian billionaire Sergei Pugachyov, has given up attempts to finance the France Soir newspaper and save it from bankruptcy, Le Figaro reported on Tuesday.
On Monday evening, Pugachyov informed the paper’s staff of the launch of external management for the insolvent paper under judicial supervision. A Paris court is expected to decide on whether to seize the paper’s assets in full or in part or liquidate it.
Pugachyov told the paper’s staff he had spent 80 million euros on the paper he had acquired in 2009 in an attempt to save it from bankruptcy, and another 10 million euros on the launch of the paper’s website.
Pugachyov acquired France Soir, one of the oldest French newspapers, in a bid to put the insolvent paper back on track. He initially managed to boost the paper’s sales by 250 percent and the online edition’s audience by 350 percent but these efforts were fruitless in making the paper operate at a profit.
In 2011, the paper generated monthly losses of 1 million euros, forcing the entrepreneur to close down the print version of France Soir and keep only the online edition.
The paper’s remaining staff has claimed the online version will cease to exist at a time when it has just started to yield revenues. In May, the number of the website’s unique visitors exceeded 4 million people.