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Emap loses Red magazine to Hachette after sealed bids

LONDON - Emap has lost its hold on Red magazine after its former publishing partner Hachette Filipacchi won a sealed bid for the women's title, which along with Elle had been part of the two publishing groups' joint venture.

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The collapse of the joint venture, which came after Hachette swooped on the Australian-owned Attic Futura in a £40m deal giving the French company its first presence in the UK, has not gone well for Emap.

As the deal ended, it lost control of Elle as the rights reverted to Hachette. Along with Elle went Elle Decoration and Elle Girl. All Emap was left in control of was the less salubrious Top Sante and New Woman. Now with Red gone as well, Emap is left with major hole in its women's magazine portfolio.

Emap is thought to be working on several new launches to a replace the lost Elle and the fashion-led "middle-youth" women's title Red, which recorded a Jan-June ABC of 186,023, up 7% year on year.

Discussions about the future of Red have been ongoing since August. The two finally agreed on sealed bids to decide the future of the magazine, which was 50% owned by the two companies.

Hachette bid £34m for the magazine, significantly more than Emap's £20m, suggesting that Emap either undervalued the magazine or was unduly concerned about the title going to Hachette.

The good news for Emap is that Hachette will pay it £17m for its 50% stake in the magazine. The money will come in handy as it moves to launch a rival title.

Hachette plans to gather all of its magazines under a single roof, bringing the Elle titles and Red together with the titles purchased from Attic, which include Sugar and TV Hits.

The winning of Red is another coup for the former Emap CEO Kevin Hand, who is heading up Hachette's UK operation, which has gone from nothing to be the UK's fourth-largest consumer publishing group.

Hand has a mission to 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.

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