Dennis Puts U.S. and U.K. Holdings on the Block, Excluding The Week and Maxim U.K.
By Marrecca Fiore
Lad mag publisher Dennis Publishing said it has put its entire company, excluding the growing weekly publication The Week and Maxim U.K., on the block. The company, which owns Maxim, Stuff, and Blender, tried to sell its U.S. assets last year. The company’s three U.S. publications took in some $314.8 million in ad dollars last year, according to Publisher’s Information Bureau statistics, and have about 4.6 million subscribers, combined.
Dennis also owns 25 international editions, numerous Web and mobile content sites, branded network and cable television programs, a satellite radio channel and various branded product extensions.
Media banker Reed Phillips of DeSilva + Phillips said the company explored selling the U.S. assets to several strategics last year. He said the company is now, more than likely, hoping to attract interest from private equity firms. "I think the timing for this (sale) is not as good as it would have been a year or two ago, when the magazines and Maxim, in particular, was a hot commodity," he said. Phillips said he believes Dennis would have sold its U.S. holding last year if it could have garnered a price tag of $200 million or better. Others have said Dennis was hoping for about $250 million.
Phillips said the addition of the international assets may result in the company being broken up into separate entities. "It feels to me like it might be sold to two different buyers, one U.S.-centric buyer and one U.K.-centric buyer," he said.
While The Week has been growing, Dennis’ lad magazines have struggled in an environment that saw its chief competitor, FHM, fold last year. In 2006, Maxim saw its ad revenues decline 0.6 percent to $193.1 million, and its ad pages decrease 6.8 percent to 930.64. Stuff’s ad revenues declined 7.8 percent to $64 million, while its ad pages dropped 14 percent to 615.21. But Blender fared well last year with ad pages growing 12.4 percent to 794.66 and revenues growing 38 percent to $57.8 million.
All three publications saw their newsstand sales decline in the second half of last year, however. Blender’s single copy sales dropped 23 percent between July and December of last year to 62,532 from 81,670 in 2005. Stuff declined 34.9 percent in the same period with single copy sales of 175,824. And Maxim, which in its heyday was selling 900,000 copies at the newsstand, was down 12.2 percent to 450,575.
In 2006, The Week posted a 34.3 percent increase in ad revenue last year to $23.9 million, up from $17.8 million in 2005.
Maxim 930.64, -6.8%
Stuff 615.21, -14%
Blender 794.66, +12.4%
2006 Ad Revenue
Maxim $193.1 million, -0.6%
Stuff $64 million, -7.8%
Blender $57.8 million, +38