The betting in U.S. media circles is that this week or next will see the announcement of a deal whereby Hearst Magazines Inc. will buy Lagardère SCA's international magazine business including its U.S. distribution and publishing arm, Hachette Filipacchi Media. It would thereby have control of such major front rack titles (including on Canadian newsstands) as Elle, Elle Decor, Woman’s Day and Elle’s 43 editions around the world.
A report in the London Sunday Times (paywall in place) says that the $873 million deal may be announced on Jan. 25, when Lagardere is scheduled to hold an investor day.The report said, without quoting a source, that the French company will retain ownership of its biggest title Elle which Hearst will publish at a cost of more than $13 million a year.(This seems to mean that Lagardère could retain licensing of Elle Canada and Elle Quebec with Transcontinental Media.)Adweek reports that Hearst, which owns Cosmopolitan and Esquire, would emerge, at least temporarily, with the No. 2 position in market share, surpassing Condé Nast and coming just behind No. 1 Time Inc., per Publishers Information Bureau. However, if Hearst spins off the Lagardère automotive titles such as Car and Driver, it will settle back into third place.