William B. Ziff Jr., who took the reins from his father and expanded Ziff-Davis into a media empire beginning in 1950’s, passed away at age 76 in his Pawling, New York, home Saturday from prostate cancer. Ziff’s father, William B. Ziff Sr., founded Ziff-Davis Inc. with Bernard G. Davis in 1927 in Chicago.
According to a timeline on Ziff-Davis’ Web site, Ziff Jr. took over and embarked on a large expansion of the company between 1955 and 1970, adding titles such as Car & Driver, Yachting, Popular Photography, Stereo Review, Modern Bride and Backpacker to his staple. Considered by some to be the founder of technology media, Ziff launched Computer Gaming World in 1981 and acquired PC Magazine in 1982.
Ziff was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1982, according to a May 1994 Wired magazine profile. He sold a majority of the company’s business and consumer titles in 1984, but retained a small division of computer titles, including PC Magazine. He launched PC Week and PC Magazine Labs that same year, according to the Ziff-Davis Web site.
Four years later, Ziff launched PC/Computing, Electronic Gaming Monthly and Expert Gamer. In 1989, Ziff launched ZDNET. And, in 1994, he sold 95 percent of his stake in Ziff-Davis Publishing to Forstmann Little & Co. for $1.4 billion. A year later, the company went public.
About William B. Ziff Jr. and Ziff-Davis
Ziff-Davis, Inc. is founded in Chicago by William B. Ziff Sr. and Bernard G. Davis.
William Ziff Jr. expands Ziff-Davis, Inc. Some titles include: Car & Driver, Yachting, Popular Photography, Stereo Review, Modern Bride and Backpacker.
Computer Gaming World launches.
Ziff-Davis, Inc. acquires PC Magazine.
Bill Ziff sells a majority of the company’s business and consumer titles, retaining only a small division of computer titles including PC Magazine.
PC Week and PC Magazine Labs launch.
PC/Computing, Electronic Gaming Monthly and Expert Gamer launch.
Ziff family sells 95% stake in Ziff-Davis Publishing to Forstmann Little & Co. for $1.4 billion.
Interactive Week and Family PC launch.
Softbank Corp. buys 70% of Ziff-Davis, Inc. for $2.1 billion from Forstmann Little & Co. and changes the company name back to Ziff-Davis, Inc.; buys COMDEX for an estimated $800 million.
Ziff Davis goes public.