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Hearst to Buy Elle: Ladymag In-Fighting to Ensue? Analysts Say Yes.

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As Hearst—mom to women's mags including Bazaar, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan—inches closer to buying Elle & co. from its French parent company Lagardère, rumors are aswirl over how the ladymags will get along once they're all forced to co-exist under the same roof. After all, it's fashion, and we all know that story about the evil stepsisters.

Over at Fashionista, they're predicting that Elle will experience a "mass editorial exodus." Meanwhile, at AdAge, analysts predict a corporate culture clash and a Bazaar vs. Elle alpha-female standoff:

"There is a major cultural challenge," Mr. Guerin said. "Although Lagadere [sic] has many good international executives, it has a strong French culture at the corporate level, which would have to be morphed in the American culture of the potential acquirer. That's a delicate and complex human factor."

Elle might also overshadow existing Hearst titles, especially Harper's Bazaar, an executive at a major fashion advertiser suggested. "Elle does compete head to head with Harper's," the executive said. "It could hurt Harper's if Hearst bought Elle because Elle is the stronger of the two titles in my opinion."

Elle is certainly the bigger book. It averaged paid and verified circulation of nearly 1.1 million copies per issue over the first half of the year, compared with 744,000 at Harper's Bazaar, according to their reports to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Elle ran 1,548 ad pages from January through September while Harper's Bazaar ran 1,157, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

· Buying Elle would help Hearst but create tensions too [AdAge]
· It's almost official: Elle to Hearst [Fashionista]