French media conglomerate Lagardère announced this morning that it would sell the foreign editions of Elle, as well as about 85 other foreign magazine titles, to Hearst for about $889 million.
French Elle will still be owned by the company, and although Hearst will have control of all other Elle licenses, Lagardère will still have a say in its branding. (Supposedly.)
As for the changes you'll see at Elle, don't expect many over the next year. The deal may take months to finalize. However, when it does go through, we expect a few major departures at the magazine. Not only will Hearst make some changes, but we're told that many Lagardère employees have contracts that allow them to flee as soon as the deal is done. Which means those who have wanted a way out for a while will use this as their chance.
Robbie Myers, Elle's editor-in-chief, once said to me in an interview--and I'm paraphrasing, because it was a long time ago--that the book's uniqueness comes from the way it approaches fashion. Instead of thinking of fashion just as a medium, Elle sees it as a lifestyle, and comments on how it affects other elements of our culture (from film to food to politics.) I've always liked Elle's intellectual point of view, and I hope this move to Hearst doesn't shake it.