Today it was announced that Hearst Corp has made a binding offer of $887 million to Lagardère, the French media conglomerate that publishes Elle, Woman’s Day, Car & Driver, among other magazines.
The deal covers 102 titles in 15 countries, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011.
One major concern, especially amongst the fashionista set, regards Lagardère’s flagship magazine Elle. There is speculation as to whether or not the influence of Hearst (which itself publishes women’s magazines including Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Bazaar) will affect the Elle brand.
Moreover, will this effect bring about an exodus of Elle’s staff?
Perhaps not. For one, Lagardère will continue to publish the French edition of Elle. Hearst is not buying Elle outright, but rather is licensing the right to publish Elle in 15 countries in exchange for an annual royalty.
Lagardère will also retain the right to exercise quality control over these foreign editions in order to ensure “brand consistency,” it said in its press release.
But sceptics remain. Lauren Sherman at Fashionista writes that “We expect a few major departures at the magazine. Not only will Hearst make some changes, but we’re told that many Lagardère employees have contracts that allow them to flee as soon as the deal is done.”
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