Le Monde, the left-leaning establishment daily that long refused capitalist investment, suffered the indignity on Thursday of being dragged into a courtroom battle between three shareholders vying for its ownership.

Madison Cox, 62, a celebrated American landscape gardener who has a 26.6 percent stake in the newspaper, was pitted against two French investors, Matthieu Pigasse, 52, a banker, and Xavier Niel, 53, a telecommunications tycoon, who both have big holdings.

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