- IPC is set to buy rival publisher Gruner & Jahr UK, bringing titles such as Prima, Best, Your Home, Focus and Prima Baby into its stable of consumer magazines. A deal is reportedly in the final stages that will see German group Bertelsmann sell the UK consumer publishing arm for an undisclosed sum.
The decision to sell G&J UK is not unexpected, given the country's niche position in the publisher's worldwide portfolio. However the decision of IPC to step in is a surprise to many. The UK's largest publisher recently announced its intention of concentrating on multimedia brands rather than traditional magazine titles. It is currently carrying £540 million in debt and owns several titles which will conflict with G&J's stable. It is thought that IPC wants to cement its position in the women's market ahead of the launch of BBC Worldwide's Eve in August, and the US imports InStyle and Glamour next spring.
G&J UK launched with much fanfare in 1986 and within a year the publisher introduced the women's monthly, Prima and the weekly title Best, which are now recognised as its flagship brands. Since then however, the company's launches have been limited to Your Home and various niche titles. Both Prima and Best suffered declines in this year's ABC figures.
The deal leaves some doubt over the future of Project Florence, G&J's much anticipated women's monthly that was due to launch this autumn. The project has already been pushed back from spring this year. Given the potential conflicts with IPC's current stable, there will be new doubts as to whether it can go ahead.