Dowden Health Media founder Carroll Dowden has entered into an agreement in principle to acquire the consumer magazine division of Dowden Health Media from New York-based retail and healthcare publisher Lebhar-Friedman. Four regional titles with combined revenues under $10 million will be included in the sale, which is expected to close by the end of this month.
The four magazines include 125,000-circulation New York Spaces, 110,000 circulation Bergen Health and Life, Monmouth Health & Life and Morris Health & Life, each with circulations of 55,000.
Dowden sold his healthcare publishing company, including the magazines he’s now buying back, to Lebhar-Friedman in the spring of last year. The deal was estimated to be north of $40 million, or a bit more than a 1X revenue multiple.
"From my point of view, it’s a great opportunity and we’re doing it as the Dowden family. So it’s a chance to have another entrepreneurial adventure with some of my children," says Dowden, who adds that the 50 existing staff will transfer to the as-yet-unnamed company. Dowden’s son, Mark, will become president and also head up a new custom publishing division, while Dowden will assume chairman and CEO roles of the new company. In the meantime, Dowden will be chairman of Dowden Health Media.
Offices will remain in Montvale, New Jersey and New York.
According to Dowden, Lebhar-Friedman, which will retain a minority interest in the new company, decided that the sale makes strategic sense since the publications did not fit the business models of the other, more healthcare-focused titles in the Dowden portfolio. Indeed, at the time of the sale of Dowden Health Media to Lebhar-Friedman, some questioned the inclustion of the regional titles. "We understand L-F’s desire to grow beyond the core base, but question this type of move. They paid a large premium to acquire a relatively small player and one that appears off-base in its launch of new regional titles," said a source familiar with the deal.
Going forward, Dowden, who declined to reveal terms of the deal, notes that growth will come organically. "There are lots of opportunities using this business as a platform," he says.