END OF AN ERA: A commercial court in Paris declared French magazine Têtu bankrupt during a hearing on Thursday morning.
The four-month observation period allowing potential buyers to step in, granted June 1, had been shortened “due to the lack of serious candidates,” according to Têtu editor in chief Yannick Barbe.
Layoff procedures for the 10 employees of the general interest gay magazine, including 5 editorial positions, are to commence, Barbe said.
Barbe blames the closure on what he perceives as an underestimation of the gay market’s potential in France, where same-sex marriages have been legal since 2013. “It’s a paradox. It should be an era of opportunities, including on the business front,” he said. Another factor is the extreme difficulty for an independent publication to attract advertisers, Barbe added.
Jean-Jacques Augier, a businessman who was French President François Hollande’s campaign treasurer in 2012, bought loss-making Têtu from Pierre Bergé in 2013.
The magazine is estimated to have reduced its annual losses to around 1.1 million euros in 2014, or $1.5 million at average exchange, and was expected to post losses of around 600,000 euros, or $652,026 at current exchange, in 2015.
Founded in 1995 by Pascal Loubet and Didier Lestrade and financed by Bergé since its very beginning, Têtu, celebrated its 20th anniversary in June.
Barbe was behind the initiative of inviting a different designer for each March issue, coinciding with the fall collections. Jean Paul Gaultier did the honors in 2014 and Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing followed suit in 2015 (appearing nude on the cover of the issue, which he also guest edited.)
The magazine’s paid circulation in France was down 9.6 percent to 28,275 in 2014, according to France’s Circulation Audit Bureau.