MAYBE THIS TIME: In a bit of curious timing, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. chief executive officer Alain Lemarchand was spotted at the Time & Life building on Thursday. This sighting comes amid growing whispers that Lagardère, the French parent of Hachette (which publishes Elle and Elle Decor), and Hearst Magazines at last have agreed to some kind of joint publishing deal. It’s been reported that Hachette plans to move operations from 1633 Broadway to Lehman Brothers’ old offices in the Time & Life building this year, while rumors that Hearst and Lagardère were in talks first surfaced in The New York Post. Sources familiar with the possible arrangement said an announcement could come as early as today and believe a deal would be structured similarly to the ones Hearst has in the U.S. with Marie Claire; O, The Oprah Magazine, and Food Network Magazine. Insiders claim S.I. Newhouse Jr., owner of Condé Nast, also expressed interest in Elle, but he was apparently late to the party since Lagardère was already in negotiations with Hearst for a stake in the Hachette business. Spokespeople for Hearst and Hachette wouldn’t comment on “rumors.” A Condé Nast spokeswoman had no comment Thursday.
Meanwhile, Lemarchand’s presence in the Time & Life building led some to wonder if the deal with Hearst was done and dusted after all. Then again, if it is, perhaps Lemarchand was looking to get out of the lease, or for a new job?
— Amy Wicks and Nick Axelrod
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