Hearst signs £574m deal with Lagardere to take Elle rights

Hearst Corporation has signed a contract with French media group Lagardere to take over its international magazine portfolio, including UK publisher Hachette Filipacchi, in a €651m (£574m) deal.

The company announced last night in the US that it had penned an agreement originally struck in January but held up due to local notification requirements in several territories in which it is to take possession of new titles.

Hearst Corporation made a “binding offer” of €651m in January to take over the international press businesses run by Lagardère.

The deal will see Hearst, owner of The National Magazine Company, take control of 102 Lagardère print titles in 15 countries around the world and extensive digital operations, including 50 websites and numerous mobile and tablet apps.

The deal will also see Hearst take ownership of Woman’s Day, Car and Driver, Road & Track and Cycle World in the US, Red magazine in the UK and Holland and a string of other significant monthly and weekly titles in major markets from the French company.

Significantly, Hearst will also assume the licensing rights to Lagardere’s flagship title Elle in the US, Russia & Ukraine, Italy, Spain, the UK, China, Japan, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Taiwan, Canada and Germany.

In addition, publishing rights to the ten editions of Elle spin-off Elle Décor currently published internationally will also pass to Hearst.

Lagardere will continue to own the “Elle” trademark and receive royalty payments while also overseeing the title’s “brand consistency”.

“Having conducted the requisite information procedure with the Lagardere group workers’ councils in certain jurisdictions pursuant to the relevant regulatory requirements, Lagardere SCA has today signed the share purchase agreement for the sale of its international magazine business to Hearst Corporation,” it said in a statement.

“The closing of the transaction remains subject to approval by local partners in certain countries as well as to certain customary governmental approvals and antitrust clearances in certain jurisdictions,” Lagardere added.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the coming months.

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