12 July 2000

Debt-beset publishing giant IPC Magazines is to acquire the British operations of a longstanding thorn in its side, Gruner & Jahr, owned by German media giant Bertelsmann. G&J’s UK titles include Prima, Best, Your Home, Focus and Prima Baby, all of which will join IPC’s portfolio of consumer magazines.

Lips are zipped about the amount of cash on the table, although IPC’s move has raised more than a few eyebrows in UK publishing circles, given that it recently announced its intention to focus on multimedia brands rather than traditional magazine publishing. The buy also adds to IPC’s massive £540 million debt burden [incurred after a highly leveraged management buyout from Reed Elsevier in December 1997].

IPC owns several titles which conflict with G&J's stable and the deal leaves a large question-mark hanging over Project Florence, G&J's long awaited women's monthly due to launch this autumn. [This observer believes that a circulation-boosting merger of titles could well be on the cards, especially as IPC girds its loins to counter next month’s launch of BBC Worldwide's Eve and transatlantic imports InStyle and Glamour due to arrive in the UK next spring.]

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)