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Elle magazine set to change hands

Lagardere, the French media group, has put its international magazine division up for sale in order to focus upon its domestic market.

It is the world’s largest magazine publisher, producing 212 titles in 45 countries, but posted a loss of 389m euros in 2009 and is forecasting a 5% dip in sales this year.

Lagardere’s international division, which publishes Elle and Red amongst others, is thought to be worth around 500m euros but it is likely to be split up rather than sold as a single unit.

Hearst and Bauer are rumoured to be amongst the bidders for the division, although Lagardere have stated they intend to retain editorial control of Elle, suggesting it will be published under license.

Lagardere initiated the sale in order to “refocus” on the French market where the group enjoys a critical mass.

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