While not a blockbuster year for magazine media M&A, 2011 did have its share of big deals, as well as some that clearly signaled where publishers were placing their bets on future revenues. While Hearst’s purchase of the Hachette brands was the biggest strictly magazine deal of the year, it was nevertheless a relative anomaly. Straight magazine deals on a large scale were almost non-existent and may become a rarity going forward if some industry observers are proven correct. Instead, e-commerce, events, marketing services and digital deals were more the norm as publishers looked for tuck-ins to create an instant revenue source to shore up a flat advertising market.
Looking back on 2011, our list includes some big deals alongside others that represented significant milestones for some companies and brands, as well as some smaller deals that were noteworthy in their own right or intersected the magazine industry, such as Glam’s purchase of the Ning community platform or AOL’s acquisition of Huffington Post.