By: Lisa Granatstein

Observers Predict Consumer Magazine Sell Off

(Mediaweek)While the focus of the Tribune-Times Mirror deal is the
potential synergy between the two media giants’ newspaper, television
and Internet operations, it was unclear last week how – or even if –
Times Mirror Magazines will fit into Tribune Co.’s plans. Unlike Times
Mirror, which has published magazines for 33 years, Tribune has no
assets or expertise in that business. Most industry observers believe
Tribune will ultimately sell off Times Mirror’s 20 consumer magazine
titles – including Popular Science, Golf, Field & Stream, Ski and Motor
Boating, and Sailing and four trade publications.

‘The Tribune Co. is a newspaper and television company, and therefore
it’s going to be hard to see a niche for the magazines,’ said David
Verklin, CEO of Carat North America. ‘My bet is we’re going to see the
magazines get spun out.’

Mark Edmiston, managing director of the investment banking firm AdMedia
Partners, said that the Tribune Co. ‘is well known for looking for
synergy, but there isn’t any synergy between newspapers and magazines.’

Tribune executives declined to comment. Jason Klein, president/COO of
Times Mirror Magazines, said that while a sale ‘is certainly a
possibility,’ he sees some possible synergies with Tribune properties,
such as integrated marketing programs. In one such effort at Times
Mirror, the Allentown, Pa., Morning Call and Field & Stream developed a
quarterly insert in F&S that was distributed to 33,000 households in
eastern Pennsylvania.

Other opportunities could be developed in TV programming linking Times
Mirror magazines with Tribune’s syndication division, Klein said. Times
Mirror Magazines currently has tie-ins with two syndicated shows–

Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford (distributed by TMM to TV stations
in 130 markets) and Golf Magazine TV, syndicated by the independent
T.J. Sports.

Publishing analysts said that Times Mirror’s magazines could fetch $600
million to $800 million if sold as a group. (Just last month, Times
Mirror sold its 114-year-old The Sporting News to Vulcan Ventures for
$100 million.) In 1999, Times Mirror Magazines posted a profit of $19.2
million on revenue of $279 million, representing just under 10 percent
of Times Mirror Co.’s total revenue.

In addition to its consumer magazines, TMM owns trade titles covering
the skiing, skateboarding, and bicycle businesses.

Potential suitors for TMM would likely include publishers in the men’s
specialty magazines category, including Emap, publisher of Motor Trend
and For Him Magazine; Primedia, publisher of Fly Fisherman and Shooting
Times; and Hachette Filipacchi Magazines.


Lisa Granatstein (lgranatstein@mediaweek.com) is
a senior editor at Mediaweek magazine.

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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