Since its first edition came out on 19 December 1944, printed on a single sheet, Le Monde has been universally accepted as France's paper of record.
Today, the evening daily has turned a new page in its history when a trio of tycoons was given the go-ahead for a takeover to save it from bankruptcy.
Its supervisory board voted to select a consortium — Pierre Bergé, an arts patron and partner of the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, banker Matthieu Pigasse, and internet tycoon Xavier Niel, described by some newspapers as a "porn billionaire" — to begin talks to take financial control, though they have promised that the journalists will have editorial freedom.
In return, Le Monde is promised an injection of 100 miilion euros to repay debts.
Le Monde journalists, angry at what they saw as intervention, voted on Friday in favour of the offer, saying the trio made "the most coherent proposition".
The rival bid, including the owners of Spain's El País and state-owned France Telecom, then pulled out.