Lagardere in talks to sell international magazine business

France's biggest publisher considering selling off most of its non-French titles

Paris-based media conglomerate Lagardere SCA, publisher of Elle magazine and Woman's Day and Car and Driver titles, is in informal talks to sell its international magazine business, a spokeswoman for the group's press and broadcasting division said.

France's biggest publisher is considering selling off its non-French titles, mostly women's and auto magazines, or forge partnerships or other forms of cooperation.

The discussions may lead to joint ventures rather than an outright sale, the spokeswoman added. The company said at least five parties had expressed interest, but declined to name them.

However, the company insisted it would keep editorial control of its flagship fashion magazine Elle which has 42 different editions internationally.

"The latest advertising market crisis has shown that is crucial to have a certain size in order to be successful," the spokeswoman said, adding that the plan is to refocus on France, "where we consider we have the necessary size."

Lagardere's non-French magazine stable is worth up to €800m.

Last year, Lagardere sold five US magazines, including American Photo and Sound and Vision.