For over a year there’s been speculation that Hearst, one of America’s largest magazine publishers, really, really wanted to buy Elle from its French parent company Lagardere. Today, news broke that the two companies admitted they’ve been working to make a deal happen.
AdWeek reports that the two companies each issued a statement confirming that they were in final negotiations on New Year’s Eve. Lagardere is hoping to sell its international press and magazine business to Hearst for cash by a hard Jan. 30 deadline.
Lagardere’s magazine business includes the international fashion force Elle, but the company is looking to unload the magazines because they haven’t been making the kind of money they could be. In addition to the US and international editions of Elle (which have been hit hard by , Hearst would also be getting Woman’s Day, Car and Drive and Road and Track.
Hearst has been the presumed front-runner because the two companies’ titles overlap in the U.S. as well as abroad, where Hearst’s extensive experience publishing Cosmopolitan could have applications for Elle and its network of editions worldwide. Hearst also is said to have the financial wherewithal, even after having paid a reported near-$375 million for digital marketing firm iCrossing last year.
Meredith Corp. (which brings you titles like Parents, Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens) and Germany’s Bauer Publishing (responsible for Life & Style and M Magazine) were both also said to be in the running.
And as weird as it would have been to have Elle brought to us each month by the same people who write special interest teen magazines or whatever Midwest Living is, it might have made a little more sense from an editorial perspective. While Hearst will have an easier time selling ads for two powerhouse fashion magazines both at home and abroad, can you imagine the spats between Glenda Bailey and Roberta Myers in the atrium of Hearst tower when they both want the same dress for an issue of the magazine? We’re looking forward to Elle (and it’s stellar international editions) being really strong businesses like they should be, but it seems to us that the snippy in-house editrix wars are a part of the deal neither business has considered.