Hearst Bids for Lagardère Magazines

Hearst Corp. has agreed with Lagardère SCA to pay nearly $900 million for the French media conglomerate’s international magazine portfolio, betting that a bigger share of magazine readers is the antidote to an uncertain advertising forecast for print publications.

Under the agreement, announced by Lagardère early Monday, Hearst will pay €651 million ($885.9 million) for all or parts of 102 magazine editions in 15 countries, including the publishing rights to Elle magazine outside of France, as well as related digital assets.

Hearst’s cash offer is subject to regulatory approvals in some countries, so the deal won’t close before the third quarter of the year.

The agreement will make Hearst into the second-largest U.S. magazine publisher by circulation, behind only Time Inc., and make Hearst the largest publisher in the world by number of titles owned. The deal also could bolster Hearst’s reach in several key categories, namely fashion/beauty and women’s lifestyle, potentially putting it in a stronger position to compete for advertisers with companies like Conde Nast and Meredith Corp.

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