LONDON - The UK's biggest consumer magazine publisher Emap has sold its French magazine unit to Italian giant Arnoldo Mondadori Editore for €550 million ($695m; £377m).

The company plans to return around 75% of the sale profits to shareholders, pending European regulators' approval of the deal with the Silvio Berlusconi-controlled business.

The French unit's portfolio includes more than 40 titles, from television listings to lifestyle and special-interest magazines.