News International fails to sell Love It!

News International is rumoured to be moving real life title Love It! to its Wapping headquarters after failing to find a buyer for the weekly magazine.

In June this year News International announced it was closing the loss making News Magazines.

Editorial director of News Magazines, Judy McGuire, has left the magazine publishing unit, but News International is remaining tight lipped about her departure and the future of Love It!.

News Magazines has moved Sunday Times Travel Magazine back in-house to the Sunday Times, and after considering contracting it out to a customer publisher, it has also decided to do the same with its other title SkyMag.

The publisher was said to be trying to sell Love It!, which recorded a circulation of 372,247 for the first half of 2008, down 7.1 per cent.

Both German publisher Hubert Burda and NatMags has been rumoured to have shown interest, but a source close to Burda told Press Gazette last week that that they weren’t interested in buying the title and MediaGuardian.co.uk reports that NatMags are also no longer in the running.

With the real life and weekly sector already saturated with more than 20 titles crammed on to the newsstand it’s hard to see who might be keen to snap it up.

Media Guardian report that Hachette Filipacchi is rumoured to be in the running, but have denied all knowledge.

Conde Nast wouldn’t touch the title, as it doesn’t fit in with their upmarket portfolio and they’re yet to launch a weekly magazine, sticking to luxury monthly titles with high-end advertising.

Bauer Consumer Media, formerly Emap, already has Closer, which although leans more towards celebrity content. The publisher’s new owners, H Bauer, already rules the roost in the weekly sector with That’s Life and the market leader Take a Break.

IPC Media has Pick Me Up, along with Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman’s Weekly although they are all aimed at an older audience. It’s also unlikely the publishing giant would buy a print title as recent acquisitions have been online, such as Trusted Reviews.

Haymarket Consumer Media has recently announced Eve as a credit crunch casualty, which was the publisher’s only women’s title, and Future Publishing sticks to specialist titles and is unlikely to make a purchase after CEO Stevie Spring sold off or closed a number of titles when she joined the company two years ago.

It would be hard to place the title at Dennis, which in recent months has been launching online magazines and has no women’s titles.

It’s a tough time to be selling anything in the publishing world, as can been seen by the recent pull out of the Informa bid. The turbulent credit markets mean few publishers would be able to splash out on a title. News International’s refusal to confirm that the title is being kept in house, however, leaves the conclusion that they’re still holding out for a sale.

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