Cover Stories: Hodder Headline takeover; Love in the Time of Cholera on the big screen

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The Independent Culture

To no one's great surprise, it was announced this week that Hodder Headline has been bought out of WH Smith by the French Lagadère Group, whose UK publishing properties already include Mitchell Beazley and Orion. The purchase puts HH chief exec Tim Hely Hutchinson in charge of the British operation, with Peter Roche his deputy. Otherwise, it's business as usual for the moment, and Hely Hutchinson is not known as a meddler. The purchase has one curious consequence: it reunites Rosie de Courcy with her old bosses. She quit Orion to be Headline editor-at-large and Lagardère, furious at her move and anxious she would take bestselling authors, forced her to take two years' gardening leave. In the event, Maeve Binchy, de Courcy's top author, stayed at Headline, while Penny Vincenzi followed her editor to Headline.

* Love in the Time of Cholera, the classic 1985 novel by Gabriel García Márquez, may soon reach the big screen. Stone Village Pictures, a US company, has reportedly paid $3m for film rights, with company principal Scott Steindorff describing it as "next to Romeo and Juliet, the greatest love story ever told".