Entrepreneur Goes on the Block
President denied sale talk last week.
Entrepreneur Mediaâ€”the Irvine, California-based publisher of Entrepreneur magazineâ€”has gone on the block.
The asking price is $200 million, according a report by PaidContent.
As recently as last week, Neil Perlman, president of Entrepreneur Media, dismissed the notion of a sale, telling FOLIO: the company is always looking for â€śnew capital to expand and grow our business.â€ť
The company has retained media banking firm DeSilva + Phillips. Last week, Reed Phillips, a managing partner at the firm, declined to comment and refused to confirm or deny Entrepreneur was in play or is even a client. Phillips did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment today.
First round bids, according to the report, are in, though it is unclear who those bidders were. A FOLIO: source said that Time Inc. would be a likely bidder, but suggested that Mansueto Venturesâ€”the New York-based publisher of Inc. and Fast Company led by billionaire Joe Mansuetoâ€”would be the most logical suitor for Entrepreneur.
Mansueto is already working on the launch of Upstart, a magazine for entrepreneurs. But in an e-mail to FOLIO:, CEO John Koten denied any interest in acquiring Entrepreneur. Last year, Mansueto lost out on its bid to buy Business 2.0 before Time Inc. folded the magazine. â€śYes, we talked to them, and we made a serious offer,â€ť Mansueto Ventures CEO John Koten told FOLIO: in September. â€śI think it was tough to do a deal because, even though we are a flea compared to Time Warner, weâ€™re competitors in the business magazine arena.â€ť
Advertising revenue for Entrepreneur was $94.5 million in 2007â€”flat (down 0.1 percent) over the previous year, according to the most recent Publishers Information Bureau figures. Ad pages dropped 6.6 percent (to 1,238.74) last year. Entrepreneurâ€™s total paid circulation averageâ€”609,765â€”was flat for the second half of 2007, according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX. Its single copy sales average, which make up a fraction of the magazineâ€™s circ, increased 13.1 percent to 48,238. Perlman, however, said the company is â€śbucking the trend in a down market,â€ť citing growing online revenues.
At this point, it would be a sale of a magazine without an editor. Rieva Lesonsky, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur since 1987, recently announced plans to leave the magazine to launch a marketing company. Her last day is April 15. â€śIt was time,â€ť Lesonsky said last month.