NEW STATE: Claude Chirac, the daughter and longtime personal adviser of former French president Jacques Chirac, is about to join PPR. According to market sources, Chirac will join the French retail and luxury conglomerate as director of communications, reporting to PPR chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault. Chirac is to succeed Laurent Claquin, who last September was named senior vice president and director of PPR’s new social and environmental responsibility department. — Miles Socha
LIST OF MANY: Bland chicken, ill-timed music and uncomfortable men in suits. A bad wedding? Nope, just Media Industry Newsletter’s annual luncheon at Tavern on the Green to toast the top launches, Web sites and most intriguing media executives of 2007. Condé Nast’s Portfolio received three honors — the magazine was named Launch of the Year, beating out the likes of Garden & Gun; ELDR, a magazine for seniors citizens, and The Land Report. Portfolio’s editor in chief Joanne Lipman and vice president and publisher David Carey were also named to MIN’s 21 Most Intriguing List. Among those joining Lipman and Carey on that list were Atoosa Rubenstein, Slate.com’s Cliff Sloan, Alpha Media Group’s Kent Brownridge and Esquire editor in chief David Granger, who said he “had no idea” why he was intriguing. Time and Women’s Day were honored with Top Reinventions of the Year.
Meanwhile, could Brownridge and The Source co-founder Dave Mays do business together soon? The two chatted about meeting up after Mays picked up one of MIN’s awards for Hottest Launch of the Year for his new magazine, Hip Hop Weekly. Brownridge first met Mays when he and Wenner Media founder Jann Wenner attempted to buy a part of The Source in the mid-Nineties. The negotiations fell through; The Source — which eventually birthed a Web site, CDs and an awards show — fell into bankruptcy, and Mays was sued by his former editor in chief for sexual harassment. Fast-forward to 2007: The Source was bought out of bankruptcy by Black Enterprise several weeks ago. Mays, who is no longer a part of The Source, says the lawsuit was settled for “significantly” less than $8 million and he launched Hip Hop Weekly, a hip-hop version of Us Weekly. In January, he’s launching another magazine — Monster, a monthly title that will compete with Vibe, Blender and his own former enterprise, The Source. — Stephanie D. Smith
STAR WARS?: Who said the old magazine publisher swagger was dead? When then-Details publisher Bill Wackermann was tapped as publisher of Glamour four years ago, his then-boss Mary Berner sent him off with a party at her home and a poster board she had the art department make up. It read, in large red letters, “2080”: the all-time ad-page record for Glamour, which Berner set in 1997. Clearly a throwdown. After four years of keeping that poster board in his office, Wackermann recently sent it back to Berner, now chief executive of Reader’s Digest Association, having bested her record with 2,088 pages. “I felt a little bit like Darth Vader with Obi-Wan,” Wackermann told WWD. “Mary certainly was the Jedi Master, but it was a bit like the student has become the master.” Much of the growth, he said, had come from fashion, reflecting greater mass interest in fashion brands with higher price points.
Berner said she was “delighted” to get the board back: “I totally expected him to do it.” She reciprocated with a bottle of Champagne and a rhyming poem, though neither could remember its content beyond “Roses are red, violets are blue.” As for reports Berner had gone after Wackermann in her raid on Condé Nast execs, she called it a rumor. “I didn’t have anything that was right for him,” she said. — Irin Carmon
SLOWGOING AT EMAP: It’s looking increasingly unlikely that Emap, the London-based media group and parent of WGSN, Grazia, FHM and Retail Week, will have new owners by the end of the year. The company said in a first-half results statement Tuesday that it’s been seeing “good interest from both private equity and trade buyers for all parts of the group.” Emap said in July that it was launching a strategic review of the group. However, Alun Cathcart, executive chairman of the company, added Tuesday, “We hoped to complete [the review of the group] by the end of the year. If it takes a little longer than that to ensure that we get it all right and achieve good prices — so be it.”
The latest estimates from analysts say the group could fetch a total of 2 billion pounds, or $4.1 billion at current exchange, when it’s sold off. Emap confirmed earlier this month that there have been no offers for the entire group, so it looks as if the business-to-business, consumer magazines and radio divisions will be sold off separately. Emap’s B2B division, which includes WGSN, is the most prized asset and has an estimated price tag of more than 1.2 billion pounds, or $2.46 billion. Bidders for that division are thought to include the Guardian Media Group, the Reed Elsevier publishing group and private equity firms Providence, Apax and Cinven, the former owner of publishing group IPC. Second-round bids for that division are due by Dec. 3, according to letters issued by Citibank and Lazard, which are conducting the review.
Bidders for the consumer magazines division are thought to include Hearst and the private equity firms Exponent, Apollo, Cinven and Providence.
In the first half ended Sept. 30, Emap’s total group revenue fell 26 percent to 408 million pounds, or $836 million, from 554 million pounds, or $1.14 billion, due mainly to the impact of disposals and closures, including Emap France. Pretax profits for the half slipped 16 percent to 80 million pounds, or $164 million, from 95 million pounds, or $195 million. — Samantha Conti