Lagardere in Talks to Sell Magazine Business to Hearst

Lagardere SCA, France’s biggest publisher, is in exclusive talks to sell its international magazine business, including Car and Driver and the foreign editions of Elle, to Hearst Corp.

The negotiations will remain exclusive until Jan. 30 for an all-cash deal, Paris-based Lagardere and New York-based Hearst said today in statements.

Lagardere, which also publishes Paris Match and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” novels, wants to concentrate on its book-publishing and domestic magazine businesses while also pushing into sports marketing. Chief Financial Officer Dominique D’Hinnin said in August that Lagardere 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 company said in early December.

The magazine unit accounted for about 22 percent of Lagardere’s sales in 2009, or 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion).

Closely held Hearst owns newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle and more than 200 magazines including Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan.

Lagardere fell 1.8 percent to 30.83 euros in Paris trading. The shares rose 8.5 percent in 2010.

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