Tuesday’s official announcement from Hearst Corporation finalizing the sale of Lagardère Group (Hachette) media assets – nearly 100 titles, plus 50 websites – didn’t contain any surprises. As managment teams passed in the hallways, our main interest was focused on whether or not any changes for Cycle World were in the offing, as corporate control shifted from Paris to New York.
With the sale officially complete, Hearst’s total domestic circulation now exceeds 30,000,000. Elle, Car and Driver, and Road and Track were the titles most frequently mentioned in releases from both camps.
Changes in store? In addition to plans to move the titles to the glam Hearst Tower “…within six to nine months,” Hearst yesterday got out the ax in announcing the first staff cuts following the $900-million plus takeover. In round one, nearly 20 percent of the former HFM personnel have been let go, including most of Steve Goldner’s social media staff, according to an article in today’s NY Post. Whether the latter was a vote of no confidence in adminstration, message or perceived value of the social media channel isn’t yet clear. HFM had always played catch up in developing their digital assets. For now we’ll assume the goal is to reboot.