IPC 'fire-sale' to dispose of most specialist mag titles

IPC Media is understood to be in advanced talks over the sale of its World Soccer magazine and two other specialist titles to the Chelsea Magazine Company.

Months of negotiations are likely to result in IPC’s international football title joining Racecar Engineering and Classic Boat and moving to the ownership of the smaller publisher.

The Chelsea Magazine Company currently publishes five magazines, including Cruise International, Current World Archaeology and Britain.

Chelsea managing director Paul Dobson told Press Gazette he did not wish to comment at this time.

The sale talks are part of IPC Media’s plan to dispose of the vast majority of its specialist magazines by the end of the year.

A spokesman for IPC said: “I can confirm that arising from the strategic review of IPC’s specialist titles; we are in consultation with staff on a number of brands.

“But the consultation is about an intention to sell, not the completion of any sale and we will not be confirming any information about brands or prospective purchasers until and if deals complete.”

IPC is also in advanced talks with Vitality Publishing, owner of gay lifestyle magazine Attitude, over the sale of lads’ mag Loaded and other titles – believed to be SuperBike magazine, horoscope title Prediction and HiFi News.

Press Gazette also understands that IPC has held talks over the likely sale of its Web User magazine, with Dennis Publishing believed to be taking an interest in the title.

Speculation about the future of the magazineb publishing giant started in April, when it announced it was starting a strategic review to enable it to have more focus on “multi-platform” publishing and sell off some smaller titles.

Then last month the publisher announced that chief executive Evelyn Webster was swapping jobs with her predecessor Sylvia Auton, with Auton returning to the UK from her role in the US with parent company Time-Warner.

One staff member told Press Gazette the specialist titles had outlived their usefulness to Time-Warner and several smaller publishers now seemed to be cherry-picking titles for acquisition.

“There is no pattern to it,” they said. “Basically, it’s a clearout of the specialist titles; it has been described as a fire-sale”.

The staff member added: “None of the titles are losing money, except perhaps for Loaded, the company just wants to instead focus on women’s titles and mass-market websites.”

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