Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Future of An Nahar

An Nahar, the leading Lebanese newspaper, is at a crossroad and its future ownership structure will affect the Lebanese press, one of the most important industries in Lebanon.

The newspaper always had heavy financial commitments that Gebran Tueni, its ex-Chairman and General Manager, somehow managed to alleviate. But after his murder the equity he held in the company was parcelled out among his wife, daughters and father.
Gebran’s shares were divided mainly between his wife Siham and her daughters and Neyla and Michelle, his daughters from a previous marriage.
He also held an important portfolio of An Nahar shares that were bought with the promise of later payment from ex-PM Rafic Hariri. However, after he was assassinated, the Hariri family got back their shares in An Nahar.
Other owners include Prince Waleed Bin Talal (10 percent) and the Greek Orthodox Diocese, and Issam Fares (5 percent).

The current Chairman of An Nahar and Gebran's father, Ghassan Tueni, 80, has chosen Neyla to be a member of the board of An Nahar. Neyla also got the backing of the Hariri family.

Being close to the Tueni family, Antoine Choueiri has proposed to create a holding company for the family’s shares thus keeping the Lebanese newspaper of record safe from possible takeovers. Antoine Choueiri is the multi-millionaire chairman of the Choueiri group, the largest advertising representative in the Arab world. His company Press Media sells advertising space in An Nahar.

Under the leadership of three generations of Tuenis, An Nahar has become a Lebanese institution with great influence on our country’s affairs. Therefore its ownership is a question of national interest.


Anonymous ghassan said...

Your proclivity for hyperbole is astonishing.
What makes you think that the An-Nahar as sn institution is in trouble and what makes the ownership structure of a newpaper "the most important industry in Lebanon". Get a grip.

15 February, 2006 18:14  
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16 February, 2006 11:46  
Blogger Mustapha said...

Although the Annahar as an institution is not "in trouble", it is worthy to note that only 20% of family businesses worldwide make it pass the third generation. Just about every language has a proverb about how family businesses collapse by the third generation (Source: Perpetuating The Family Business, John L. Ward).

As a fourth-generation member of a family business myself, I am perfectly aware of all the challenges and difficulties that face "transition leaders" of such businesses. Ghassan Tueiny knows all too well that Nayla is still ill-prepared for such a position, and that he needs to take her by the hand for another few years before she can assume effective leadership. Will he live that long?

The Strategic Alliance with the Future Movement might help cushion Neyla for some time, but Annahar is not as secure as we might want to think..

16 February, 2006 13:17  

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