New Track Media Buys American Woodworker from Reader’s Digest Association (posted 12/8)
New Track Media has quietly closed a deal to buy American Woodworker from Reader’s Digest Association. The deal is the third for enthusiast publisher New Track Media, which was started by former F+W CEO Stephen Kent earlier this year with $50 million in backing from Boston Ventures. Kent declined to offer a sale price, but noted that the deal takes New Track north of $30 million in annualized revenues. New Track’s previous transactions were Sky Publishing and Fons & Porter. Kent says he approached Reader’s Digest with an offer and that the deal was negotiated in a proprietary fashion long before Ripplewood’s $2.4 billion purchase of RDA. "It happened prior to any inkling of the Ripplewood situation. It was completely separate," he says. American Woodworker, originally a Rodale title before it was purchased by Reader’s Digest in 1998, has a circulation of 325,000 and a 7X frequency. PIB revenues for 2005 were about $9.3 million in 2005, with about $7 million for the first 11 months of 2006. That’s down about 12 percent versus same period 2005, but Kent indicates the magazine will receive some much needed attention in New Track’s cozier portfolio. "We felt the magazine would be able to reach its potential better with us than it has within Reader’s Digest where it is a very small part of the operation. It will be a more important asset with us," he says. Two former F+W executives have come on board – Joel Toner as vice president and publishing director and Roger Case, former president and CEO of Krause, as American Woodworker’s publisher. Kent notes that the M&A marketplace has been competitive and his three deals put him ahead of schedule. "We thought it would take a year and a half. And to think we finished our first year with three transactions is very gratifying," he says.