Lagardère in Exclusive Talks With Hearst To Sell Foreign Unit

The two parties have set Jan. 30 deadline to negotiate an all cash transaction.

PARIS – Lagardère has entered into exclusive talks with Hearst Corp. for the sale of its international press and magazine business, the French conglomerate announced.

The two parties have given themselves until Jan. 30 to negotiate the sale in an all cash transaction, Lagardère said in a statement.

The publisher of Elle and Paris Match magazines announced in early December it was in talks with several partners over the fate of its overseas business, which it decided to sell after failing to reach the critical mass it has in France.

Germany’s Bauer Publications and U.S. media group Meredith Corp. were also reportedly in the running, though Lagardère officials declined to provide any additional comment on the sale.

The group plans to hold on to its French division and to retain editorial control over foreign editions of Elle.

Lagardère’s overseas magazine business generated revenues of 700 to 800 million euros, or $976 million to $1.1 billion, in 2009 out of total revenues of 1.3 billion euros, or $1.8 billion, for the periodicals division as a whole.