AOL Time Warner is today expected to announce the purchase of UK-headquartered magazine publisher IPC Media for over £1 billion.

The deal follows protracted talks in which IPC rejected the US giant’s initial offer of between £850 million and £1.1bn – a price the British firm considered too low [WAMN: 13-Jun-01]. AOL TW raised its bid to an estimated £1.1bn–£1.25bn earlier this month [WAMN: 13-Jul-01].

The purchase of IPC – publisher of such titles as Woman’s Weekly, What’s on TV and ‘lad mag’ Loaded – marks the first major foray into the British market by AOL TW’s Time unit. The American group is also keen to use its acquisition’s online content.

IPC claims to be holding up better in the ad slowdown than many of its rivals, picking up advertisers looking for an alternative to TV. Its current owner, venture capital company Cinven, is set to make a decent return on its investment, having paid Reed Elsevier £860m for the group three years ago.

News source: The Times (London)