Hearst's long-awaited purchase of French media conglomerate Lagardere's international magazine business is finally official. The purchase price: $887 million. The upshot: Hearst may now be the most powerful decider of the future of the magazine industry.
Hearst is getting 102 separate titles in 15 different countries. They include Hachette Filipacchi's automotive magazines like Car & Driver as well as Woman's Day. Lagardere is keeping the French edition of Elle, but Hearst will get "publishing rights" to the magazine in the rest of the world.
Woman's Day will fit right in with existing Hearst titles like Good Housekeeping and Country Living; likewise, Elle is a powerful addition to the company's stable of woman's magazines, which includes Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Marie Claire, and O. The acquisition is the first bold move by David Carey, who took over leadership of Hearst after Cathie Black broke out to become the wildly unpopular new head of New York's public schools. Hearst's roster of titles is vaster, thought not as upscale, as Conde Nast's, and compares favorably with stodgy old Time Inc.'s. And since Hearst has generally been savvier than its competitors about keeping costs down and managing its magazines' transition from print into digital, there's no reason why the company can't become the dominant player in the American magazine industry over the next decade.
Don't fuck it up, Carey.