Emap sells French arm to Italy's Mondadori

Emap has sold its ailing French consumer magazine division, Emap France, to the Italian media empire Mondadori for £380 million.

The French operation was put up for sale in February, with the company later reporting a 25 per cent fall in annual profits for the division to £38 million.

Emap France has been struggling with falling newsstand sales and a lack of demand for print media among French advertisers.

The deal secures 40 titles, including TV listings, lifestyle and specialist interest, for Mondadori, which is owned by the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Tom Moloney, the Emap group chief executive, said the publisher of Heat, FHM and Closer would now be allocating more resources to "spend on to faster growth platforms".

He added: "The sale of Emap France is in line with this strategy, and also allows us to return to shareholders a significant proportion of the value created during our period as a French consumer magazine publisher."

Emap and Mondadori already have an existing relationship, as Emap secured the licence to publish Grazia in the UK from the Italian publisher, which launched the title in 1938.

For the year ending 31 March 2006, Emap France reported revenues of £300 million and operating profit of £38 million, with total assets of £281 million.

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