Emap plans launch to fill gap left by Elle

Cotterill: "good deal for staff"

 Emap is working on the launch of a glossy lifestyle magazine for women to fill the gap left by Elle.

The company is expected to lose Elle after Hachette – its partner in the magazine – acquired Attic Futura, the UK’s seventh largest magazine publisher.

The new title is understood to be a monthly with a strong celebrity bias, edited by former Sunday Mirror features editor Jane Johnson.

Also involved are Dan Wakeford, Heat’s news editor and a former Sun reporter, and Lauren Libbert, previously with New Woman. Emap has had secret talks with a number of well-known showbiz writers.

Sources say the glossy could be on the news-stands early next year.

A spokesman for the company said: "Emap continues to look vigorously at all launch opportunities. It has always enjoyed a first-class record of launching successful new ventures." Attic Futura was this week acquired by French publishing group Hachette Filipacci MŽdias for £40m. All 130 Attic staff will transfer to Hachette Filipacchi UK but remain at their present offices in London. There will be no redundancies.

The deal is expected to result in a shake-up which could see Emap losing Elle, Elle Decoration and Elle Girl which are co-owned by Hachette. It also increases Hachette’s foothold in the UK, especially in the teen and entertainment sectors.

Attic publishes six titles: Sugar, Inside Soap, All About Soap, TV Hits!, CD:UK and B.

Attic Futura managing director Vivien Cotterill said the acquisition was good news for journalists as it could mean job opportunities within Hachette overseas.

"My staff are into ‘fantasy transfer league’, working out where they are going to go next and what they are going to do," she said.

"Hachette has 65 per cent of its business overseas. It runs its business in cities as home territory businesses, so we’ll keep our own style hopefully."

Cotterill said the deal would speed up Attic’s plans for new launches. "We have not been focusing on our launch strategy and now we will start to look at it again," she added.

Former Emap chief executive Kevin Hand has been appointed chairman of Hachette’s UK operation.

Insiders say the move will hit Emap’s Period Living and Traditional Homes, which is often sold to advertisers alongside Elle Decoration.

"It’s a big blow for Emap and it will be a very different prospect for staff.

"Kevin Hand is a very clever guy who shouldn’t be underestimated," a source added.

By Ruth Addicott

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