Is Hearst trying to buy Elle from Lagardere or is a global partnership on the cards?

This is a funny one, French publisher Lagardere announced at the start of the start of December that its global titles were up for sale, deciding instead to concentrate on its publishing business in France.

The company, which trades in the UK as Hachette Filipachi, owns Elle, Red, Psychologies, Inside Soap and Sugar, Elle being the jewel in the crown.

It has now entered into exclusive talks until the end of January with San Francisco-based Hearst (National Magazines in the UK).

But is it looking for a sale or a global merger by another name?

It says it wants to hang on to editorial control of its titles, which you don’t usually do when you sell them.

Hearst, which publishes Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping among many others, seems to have weathered the recession reasonably well while Lagardere, one assumes, hasn’t.

Could this be the first big media deal of 2011?

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About Angie Dean