AKA Robert Joseph Emile Hersant
Birthplace: Vertou, Loire-Atlantique, France
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: unspecified
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: Le Papivore
Controlled 38% of the French newspaper market before his death, owning major papers in Paris and two dozen provincial dailies, as well as controlling interests in papers in Belgium and Eastern Europe. With Silvio Berlusconi in 1987, he took control of television station Le Cinq, to hemorrhagic effect on his bottom line. For its size, Hersant and his press group were intensely private, with Hersant never giving an interview, his company withholding even its yearly sales figure.
A powerful conservative, Hersant was alternately allied with and at odds against the state. In 1984, the Socialist government tried to rein him in legislatively, passing a law curtailing newspaper ownership, but Hersant flouted the law the next year, buying up eight papers in Lyons. Before he could be prosecuted, the government changed hands and struck down the ordinance.
During the German occupation of France, Hersant joined of the pro-Nazi youth group Jeune Front, ostensibly as editor of their press organ (which never issued). Following the war he was tried for collaboration and sentenced to a month in prison and ten years of "national indignity", but pardoned in the general amnesty of 1952.
Father: Victor Hersant (merchant marine)
Mother: Juliete Hugot
Wife: (m. 40 years)
Groupe de Presse Robert Hersant
Le Figaro Owner (1975-)
France-Soir Owner (1976-)
L'Auto Journal Founder (1950-)
Société du Journal Téléphoné Co-Founder (1986)
French National Assembly L'Oise (1956-78)
Member of the European Parliament (1984, 1989)
French Official Mayor, Ravenel
French Official Mayor, Liancourt
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