Lagardere SCA said talks on the sale of its international magazines business have “no calendar nor exclusivity,” and no transaction is imminent.
Reports suggesting that France’s largest publisher, which is considering a sale of foreign titles including the U.S. edition of Elle, is near a deal “come from anonymous sources who don’t seem to know the reality of the situation,” Ramzi Khiroun, a spokesman at Paris-based Lagardere, said in an e-mail. Les Echos reported today that Lagardere may announce an agreement to sell the magazines to Hearst Corp. within days.
Chief Executive Officer Arnaud Lagardere is looking to focus on Lagardere’s book-publishing and domestic magazine businesses while also pushing into sports marketing. Lagardere has begun work on an initial public offering of its 20 percent stake in pay-TV operator Canal Plus France, and is targeting a sale of its 7.5 percent stake in European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., the parent of planemaker Airbus SAS.
Lagardere said on Dec. 1 that it aims to retain editorial control of Elle, which has more than 40 international editions, as part of any transaction. The company’s magazines unit, whose titles include Paris Match and Car and Driver, accounted for about 22 percent of sales last year, or 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion).