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AOL-Time Warner back in takeover talks with IPC

New media giant after magazine publisher. God help us all

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AOL-Time Warner is back in takeover talks with UK magazine publisher IPC. The new media giant is looking to snap up some old media in a European acquisition spree and the price looks to be between £1 billion and £1.25 billion.

IPC is best known for titles like Loaded and NME but publishes about 100 others and together with Emap controls the vast majority of the UK's magazine market. The company recently launched the user friendly Net title Web User.

IPC was bought out by its management in 1998 but big plans to expand its titles have faltered as advertising revenues have fallen, leading IPC to close several titles.

The VC firm behind IPC, Cinven, also wants its money back and so is looking for a sale. It was talking to Telewest but a price couldn't be agreed and the same happened with AOL-Time Warner in June. Cinven knows its still sitting on a good company and won't budge but it looks like AOL-Time Warner will cough up what it's asking for this time. Plus £1.25 billion is chickenfeed to the giant.

AOL-Time Warner is looking to expand its media operation into Europe and IPC is an excellent way in. Sadly, if it does take over the company we can look forward to loads of crap pieces about how great certain products that AOL-Time Warner owns are.

Competitions offering AOL-Time Warner goods, special AOL Internet link-ups, certain Web sites flagged up, vacuous "exclusive" articles on people involved in the Time Warner films. And so on and so forth. Objectivity and quality goes down the toilet, shareholder wealth goes through the roof.

Welcome to the modern world. ®

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