Lagardère Looks For Outside Help To Run Hachette U.S. Mags

Elle Magazine

It looks like Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. hasn’t finished cutting its costs, as parent Lagardère Active is considering selling off most of the division or finding a partner who can help share the burden. Recently, HFMUS, the publisher of Elle, Woman’s Day and Car and Driver, has seen a number of high profile staffers head elsewhere. That came as the company completed what it said was a two-year period of deep cost cutting, including the sale of its Enthusiast titles — American Photo and Boating, among others — to Bonnier in the spring of ’09.

The additional sale has been expected for some time, though most observers don’t expect the company to part with its biggest title, Elle, at least not completely, Mediaweek noted.

Lagardère SCA is considering selling its international magazine business in order to focus on its French magazine titles. In addition to magazines, Lagardère also has a much healthier sports marketing and athletic agency unit.

The company would seem to prefer partnering with another publisher at this point, before exploring an outright sale. HFMUS has talked to Conde Nast, but there hasn’t been much interest. The most likely outcome involves working with Hearst Magazines, according to Mediaweek, which cites an unidentified source as saying, it’s all a matter of whether the two heads of both publishers, Arnaud Lagardère] and Hearst’s Frank Bennack, can come to an agreement. Representatives from both companies declined to comment.

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