Hearst, Lagardere Confirm Exclusive Negotiations
Reports have circulated for the past two weeks that Hearst Corp., owner of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and O, the Oprah Magazine, was the lead bidder among companies seeking to acquire Lagardere's international titles. The French media conglomerate announced in early December it was seeking to unload its international properties as part of an effort to cut costs and shift focus to European assets. Well-known titles in the U.S. include Elle, Women's Day and Car and Driver, published under the banner of Lagardere-owned Hachette Filipacchi Media.
Exclusive negotiations between the two companies will run until January 30, 2011, Hearst said in a statement. The proposed acquisition would be an all-cash transaction.
"Hearst has been the presumed frontrunner 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," AdWeek reports today. "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."