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Lagardere in Talks to Sell International Magazines

Lagardere SCA, France’s biggest publisher, is in informal talks that could lead to the sale of its international magazine business, whose titles include “Car and Driver” and the foreign editions of “Elle.”

The company wants to focus on regions where it has its most-significant presence, a spokeswoman for the magazines unit, Lagardere Active, said. The discussions are aimed at finding possible partnerships and may lead to joint ventures rather than an outright sale, she said.

Lagardere, which also publishes “Paris Match” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” novels, wants to concentrate on its main publishing businesses. Chief Executive Officer Arnaud Lagardere started preparations for an initial public offering of its 20 percent stake in pay-TV operator Canal Plus France and also aims to dispose of a 7.5 percent stake in European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, the Airbus SAS parent.

Lagardere shares rose 5.9 percent to 30.13 euros in Paris today, the biggest increase in more than a year. The stock has climbed 6 percent this year.

Chief Financial Officer Dominique D’Hinnin said in August that Lagardere, based in Paris, had received interest from buyers for some or all of its U.S. magazine titles. As part of any disposal, Lagardere would seek to retain editorial control of Elle, which has more than 40 international editions, the spokeswoman said today.

Sports Push

The Lagardere Active unit accounted for about 22 percent of the company’s sales last year, or 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion).

In addition to publishing, Arnaud has pushed into sports marketing and athlete representation through a new unit, Lagardere Unlimited.

In May, the company announced the acquisition of Best, a U.S. sports agency with clients including basketball player Rafer Alston. It also took a minority stake in Saddlebrook, a sports academy in Florida.

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