Lagardere says to part with 10 magazines, 350 jobs hit

PARIS Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:18am EDT

PARIS (Reuters) - French media group Lagardere (LAGA.PA) said it planned to restructure its magazine division and sell 10 of its 39 titles to focus on growing its most strategic brands online.

Titles for sale include popular Psychologies Magazine, Be and Premiere, and several home and decoration magazines, Lagardere Active said in a statement on Thursday, adding that its restructuring could affect a total of 350 jobs.

Like many media groups, Lagardere Active has been hurt by a significant drop in circulation and advertising in its print publications as it faces soaring competition from content available on the Internet.

Lagardere Active, which already sold its international magazine portfolio for around $900 million to U.S. publisher Hearst in 2011, said it aimed to focus on the digital development of its most powerful brands, including the French edition of Elle, Paris Match and Le Journal du Dimanche.

"My strategy is to focus our investments on around 10 titles which are leaders in their segment and where there is a strong potential to develop them online," Lagardere Active head Denis Olivennes said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper.

"Unfortunately, this means we have to dispose of around 10 others."

Olivennes said the company preferred for the magazines to be taken over by their individual teams and that he hoped employees would be retained. The restructuring affects 350 permanent staff, mostly at the magazines being sold, he said.

Lagardere group said in August it expected advertising revenue to fall about 7 percent at Lagardere Active this year. The division accounts for roughly a fifth of the group's revenue.

Lagardere shares were little changed at 25.435 euros by 1112 GMT. They are up about 46 percent this year, giving the company a market value of some 3.3 billion euros ($4.45 billion).

($1 = 0.7412 euros)

(Reporting by Natalie Huet; Editing by James Regan)

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