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Lagardère may sell Elle to Hearst

It was out with the old and in with the new on Monday, as new president at Hearst Magazines, David Carey, replaced Cathie Black and settled in with an upbeat e-mail to company staff.

In the e-mail, he reported that company is currently involved in exclusive negotiations with French-based multinational conglomerate Lagardère. Hearst is interested in getting ahold of some of the publishing company’s international divisions – including American Elle and its international counterparts.

“While I can’t comment further at this time, this announcement speaks volumes about our belief in the magazine medium — in print today, plus its many other expressions tomorrow, and in the value of premium content throughout the world,” Carey wrote in the e-mail, as reported in WWD.

In 2009, Lagardère’s magazine division saw revenues of about $1 billion, compared to $1.8 billion for its entire periodical division. Should an agreement be reached, Hearst will bump Condé Nast to become the second leading magazine publisher, following Time Inc. Other contenders vying to purchase Elle include Germany’s Bauer Publications and Meredith Corp. Negotiations will likely conclude Jan. 30 with a 100 percent cash deal. Lagardère shares are booming as a result, jumping 9.4 percent to 33.72 euros (USD $45.09).

Lagardère intends to keep its French division, but is adamant about hanging on to editorial control over international editions of Elle. Wait – sell the company but hold on to control?

On the other hand, Hearst is no stranger to such deals. Right now, the company has a deal to publish O, The Oprah Magazine, where most control lies with Oprah Winfrey, plus other comparable agreements with SmartMoney and Talk magazine. But the company only had so much to say about the transaction.

Tagged in: hearst, negotiation, lagardère, david carey, negotiate, elle,

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