The Czech billionaire businessman Daniel Kretinsky agreed to finance the loss-making French left-leaning daily Libération until it breaks even, according to the paper’s owners on Tuesday.
The billionaire agreed to lend €14 million to Libération to guarantee “the financing of the title until its return to equilibrium” in 2026.
So who is Kretinsky and what else does he own in France?
Other French media: Prior to Libération, Kretinsky had already heavily invested in French media as owner of Elle magazine and part-owner of the daily Le Monde. Kretinsky’s foundation will also inject €1 million into the Fund for the Support of Independent Media (FDPI), the majority-owners of Liberation, according to an internal announcement made by Liberation’s Managing Director Denis Olivennes.
Tuesday’s statement quoted Kretinsky as saying he was “happy to participate in this way to the continued existence of an independent newspaper that is essential to democratic debate”.
Retail chains – Kretinsky’s high-profile investments in France include minority stakes in the convenience store and online retailer Casino, as well as in the electronics, books and media group Fnac Darty.
An 18th century castle – His last big acquisition in France was the historic 18th-century Chateau du Marais castle outside Paris, adding a luxury hotel project to his existing French media and retailing empire.
Chateau du Marais sells for $43 million to a Czech billionaire. The Louis XVI-style manor is on 250 acres an hour from Paris. It’s got a chapel, Queen’s royal court, network of secret tunnels and a proper 16th-century dungeon. pic.twitter.com/CKoiiewTIW
— Robert Frank (@robtfrank) September 2, 2022
Kretinsky is 47 years old, and has a net worth of approximately €5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.