Source: AMI Titles May Net $50 Million Price Tag
A source today predicted the five titles National Enquirer parent, American Media put up for sale in June could fetch a combined $50 million price tag. The source also said the publications would likely go separately or in two’s and three’s. "I think the titles will go to different parties, based on their differing subject matter, with the (Muscle & Fitness)/ Flex books going to one buyer, and the other two going to separate buyers," said one source in the investment banking industry. "There might be one integrated consumer publisher interested in all of them, but there are relatively few of those potential buyers."
Earlier this week, AMI, which is backed by private equity firms, Evercore Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners told bond holders it had received a great amount of interest in the five titles, Muscle & Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Flex, Country Weekly and Mira! and expects to close a transaction before the end of the year. The sale is being handled by JP Morgan and Bear Stearns. In the same discussion with bond holders, financially struggling AMI also asked for permission to postpone its pending financial restatement to October. It’s the second time in as many months the company asked for a postponement. The media company is about $860 million in debt.
Bondholders have extended the deadline for the company’s financial restatement to Oct. 31 – in return for a 1/8-point interest-rate hike. In June, the company offered note holders $5.5 million in exchange for the first postponement.
The company is struggling to rebuild core brands, including Star, which has suffered from weak newsstand sales over the past year. AMI said in June, unloading the five titles, would allow the company to better focus its core-building strategy. "The 12-month revenue for the five titles was about $85 million," the source said. "It’s difficult to evaluate them on an EBITDA multiple, because they are not standalone businesses. Country Weekly has potential and is probably worth 1 to 1.25 times revenue. Mira! addresses a strong and growing demographic and will probably fetch a bid of 1.5 times revenue."
In a presentation to bond holders Monday, the company said its full-year bank EBITDA is expected to be slightly lower than predicted in June, but its annualized savings from the closings of Celebrity Living, Shape en Espanol, and MPH (Maximum Horsepower) will be higher at 19.6 million, about $400,000 better than anticipated. The magazines lost a combined total of $9.2 million in 2005.
AMI lowered its expected Bank EBITDA for fiscal 2006 to $117.3 million, compared to the $121.3 million announced in June. The lowered expectation is due to $4 million in expenses related to launches and re-launches, as well as restructuring, severance costs and restatement fees.
American Media also reported Monday that newsstand sales of Star magazine are on the rebound after several months of weakness. It expects third quarter sales of Star to be up 20 percent, after falling 10 percent in the second quarter of the year. The company said sales of the Enquirer and Globe remain flat, while Shape newsstand sales were up 8 percent in the first six months of the year versus the previous year.