Lagardère, the Paris-based media giant, has entered into a month-long exclusive negotiating period with Hearst Corp. regarding the sale of Elle, Woman’s Day, Road & Track and Car and Driver magazines.
The sale is expected to be in the range of $700 million to $1 billion, making it one of the biggest magazine deals since the Great Recession started.
Hearst CEO Frank Bennack has been negotiating on and off for a year to acquire the magazines, which are published by Lagardère’s US division, Hachette Filipacchi Media.
Lagardère wants to unload the mags because it believes they don’t have critical mass.
The agreement knocks Hamburg, Germany-based Bauer out of the running, at least for now.
One sticking point is that the French want to maintain some control over the Elle brand worldwide.