HACHETTE COMPLETES DEAL TO TAKE CONTROL OF 'GEORGE'

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Last week was a busy one for Hachette Filipacchi Magazines President-CEO Jack Kliger. Not only did he finish up the deal for a stake in Phase2Media, he concluded negotiations with the Kennedy family to take control of George.

Hachette becomes sole owner of George after completing the buyout of the 50% share owned by Random Ventures, part of the estate left by John F. Kennedy Jr. following his death this summer. Terms were not disclosed.

"The mission will still be to have a political and pop culture magazine," said Mr. Kliger, who added that the 2000 presidential election should help fuel interest in the magazine.

Hachette plans to increase its circulation, and already has said it will boost the title's guaranteed rate base from 400,000 to 450,000 in February.

Mr. Kliger also would like to expand the title's Web plans.

George was launched in 1995 as a joint venture between Random Ventures and Hachette. Mr. Kennedy served as its president and editor in chief.

Hachette is expected to appoint a new management team in the coming weeks. Carol Smith, former group publisher of Miller Sports Group and a founder of Parenting, has been brought in as a marketing consultant and has spent much time in the last few weeks with the George staff. But Mr. Kliger said she is consulting on "a temporary basis."

While several names have circulated through the rumor mill as the possible next editor, including Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and Michael Elliot, Mr. Kliger would only say, "We're a magazine company committed to enthusiast products that are edited by people with high levels of emotional involvement in the subjects they

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