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Hachette and Emap tussle over Red

LONDON - Hachette Filipacchi and Emap have so far failed to come to an agreement over the future of women's magazine Red as the French publishing confirmed its joint venture deal with Emap has been dissolved.

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The joint venture deal was ended following the French firm's purchase of Sugar publisher Attic Futura, and the two have agreed that Hachette will take control of Elle, Elle Decoration and Elle Girl, while Emap will assume full control of Top Sante and New Woman.

However, it is the future of the fashion-led "middle youth" women's title Red that the two have failed to agree on. Red recorded a Jan-June ABC of 186,023, up 7% year on year.

Marie Muzard, a spokesman for Hachette, said: "We are continuing discussions with Emap about the future of Red. We don't know who will publish Red yet."

The joint venture with Emap came to an end after Hachette swooped on the Australian-owned Attic Futura in a £40m deal, which gives the French company its first presence in the UK.

Hachette plans to gather all of its magazines under a single roof, bringing the Elle titles together with the titles purchased from Attic. The new name of the company has yet to be decided on, Muzard says, but it is almost certain that the Attic Futura name will disappear.

What is certain is that former Emap CEO Kevin Hand will head up the UK operation. Hand has a mission to both grow the French company and prove himself again to the UK market following his ousting from Emap after its disastrous entry into and then exit from the US market with its £720m acquisition of Petersen.

One of the ways Hand might grow the company is through new joint ventures. Earlier this week, it was reported that Hachette is being touted as a possible joint venture partner for BBC Magazines. The BBC has been looking for a joint venture partner over the last year in an attempt to expand its publishing operations.

According to Muzard, as Hachette takes control of the UK Elle titles, it joins a select group of international publishers that control their brands in most markets.

"We will be one of the only a few international publishing groups worldwide that control our brands in most countries, which is quite rare," she said.

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