September 2008 : Official Report Calls for AFP to be Privatised

The Giazzi Report, produced for President Nicolas Sarkozy, calls for: [our translation] "the transformation of AFP into a joint-stock company [société anonyme], which would allow it to possess both capital and equity, and to raise further capital if need be, in order to improve its financial arrangements and help it on its migration to the digital economy.."

Danièle Giazzi is a national secretary for President Sarkozy's UMP, with responsibility for company policies; her report is part of a push by M. Sarkozy to reform the French media landscape.

A month later CEO Pierre Louette is asked by the government to draw up a scheme that would propose the necessary legislative changes. In December, he is also elected to a second three-year term at the head of AFP.

To fight these plans the AFP unions launch the "SOS-AFP" petition, on November 27, 2008.

Translated extract from the Giazzi Report (page 18)

"AFP has the potential to become a real international powerhouse of digital content.. Furthermore, it is no doubt one of the best guarantees of the quality and comprehensiveness of news in the French press, particularly as regards international events. But to do so it needs to find new finance, and to make its statutes evolve.

"We therefore recommend the transformation of AFP into a joint-stock company, [société anonyme], which would allow it to possess both capital and equity, and to raise further capital if need be, in order to improve its financial arrangements and help it on its migration to the digital economy.

"We also feel it is necessary to give AFP clearly-identified and stable shareholders.. For the role of an agency like AFP is very special..."