IPC Media is at an advanced stage of negotiations to sell its flagship football magazine, World Soccer, sportsjournalists.co.uk has learned.
Today, an IPC Media spokesman declined to go into any specifics about the sale of the 50-year-old title, while “consultations continue with some staff”, but he did confirm that talks are on-going, both internally with staff and with an outside party for the sale of the title.
Sportsjournalists.co.uk understands that the prospective buyer is the Chelsea Magazine Company, which has a portfolio of non-sporting consumer magazine titles, and which states on its website that it is seeking to make acquisitions.
The IPC spokesman said that the consultations “follow a strategic review of all our titles in the past few months. We are talking about a number of brands, and we are talking to a number of staff.
“No deals have yet been concluded.
“The consultation is about an intention to sell, not the completion of any sale and we will not be confirming any information about brands or prospective purchasers until and if deals complete.”
The sale of World Soccer – or “divestment”, as the spokesman called it – comes little more than two years since IPC closed down Shoot, its one-time weekly football magazine, with a loss of six full-time jobs. That 40-year-old title’s circulation had slumped from 120,000 copies per week in 1996 to less than 34,000 just before it was switched to a monthly, and then closed in June 2008.
Launched in 1960, World Soccer came under IPC control in 1988. Since 1982, World Soccer‘s international player of the year awards have been regarded as the pre-eminent global football accolades, while the magazine’s international publishing formula, working together with titles in several leading football nations, was also groundbreaking.
Any IPC staff that make the move from King’s Reach to the Anglo-American owned Chelsea will find themselves in offices alongside titles such as Britain – the official publication of the national tourist board – Artists & Illustrators, Cruise International and First Eleven, though the latter publication has little to do with sport and everything to do with independent schools.
Chelsea Magazines‘ MD is Paul Dobson, who is regarded among his staff as “a bit of a football nut”.