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Libération (France)


Based: Paris


Founded: 1973


Circulation: 134,800 (2006)


Owner: 39% of shares in the paper are owned by Edouard de Rothschild. A staff consortium holds an 18.4% stake, and the remaining shares are owned by Pathe, the investment group 3i and friends of the paper.


Launched in 1973 by Jean-Paul Sartre and a group of like-minded left-wing intellectuals, Liberation was aimed at the “1968 generation” – those who felt frustrated by the slow pace of social change in France and wanted a paper with an alternative outlook. What started off as a radical chic publication moved closer to the mainstream from the 1980s onwards, and by January 2005, when the banker Edouard de Rothschild became the main shareholder and invested 20m euros (£13m) in the title, the process of counter-revolution seemed complete. A restructuring plan proposed by Rothschild gave rise to protracted and acrimonious battles with staff, and many of Liberation’s most respected journalists left the paper.