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Vibe Holdings to Merge with Access Network

Vibe, Uptown will be integrated with BlackBook Media into Access Network.

Stefanie Botelho By Stefanie Botelho

The Yucaipa Johnson Fund and InterMedia will merge the Vibe Holdings and Uptown businesses with the BlackBook Media business and its owner Access Network. The resulting company, which will operate under the moniker Vibe Media, will manage Vibe, Uptown and BlackBook magazines.

In a prepared press statement, Magic Johnson (co-partner of the Yucaipa Johnson Fund) says, “We're interested in consolidating great brands that reach a large and attractive audience - specifically those which index well in the online and mobile arena. The technology we acquired as part of the Access Network will serve as a very important piece to enable us to reach consumers.”

According to Access Network’s website, its proprietary content management system acts as a “location-based service and marketing platform”. The local content management software is used by brands like ELLE and Maxim. Through the deal, all the media properties across the Vibe Media network will utilize Access Networks’ CMS and distribution platform, deemed AccessGeo.

Access Network CEO Ari Horowitz says, “The Access Network technology platform provides the ability to reach this large and desirable audience through hyper-local digital applications for Vibe, Uptown and our VLN partners.” The Vibe Lifestyle Network [VLN] and BlackBook Media Network reach a combined 18.5 million monthly visitors.

Horowitz is set to act as CEO of Vibe Media, and will remain as CEO of Access Network. Len Burnett and Brett Wright, current co-CEOs of VLN, will maintain their respective titles. Johnson will continue in his role as chairman of Vibe Holdings.

Johnson and business partner Ron Burkle invested an estimated $12 million in Vibe in the beginning of 2011. Since the investment, Johnson has made his interest to build on current online and video efforts known.

In September 2011, Vibe Holdings announced the hires of Aidan Brewer and Esmeralda Cruz in the development of a digital operations team.

Stefanie Botelho By Stefanie Botelho

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