Source: Spin to Go to Hartle Media by March
Spin magazine, the music title oft-rumored to be on the block for the better part of a decade, is close to a sale to San Francisco-based Hartle Media, according to sources familiar with the deal. An announcement is imminent, the sources say, and may come as early as next week.
Sources had speculated that the sale price would be close to $5 million, the price tag reported last week by Women’s Wear Daily. But one source said that the actual cash value of the transaction, after the assumption of a subscription liabilty, would be significantly less. As recently as last August, Quincy Jones, the legendary record producer who founded Vibe in 1994, had reportedly offered Miller Publishing $100 million to buy both magazines, but Miller wanted to open up the sale to other bidders.
But even at $5 million, an amount shocking for a magazine that once sold for $42 million, the deal illustrates another drastic devaluation of a once-revered print brand. Last year, G+J sold Inc. and Fast Company;a pair of titles it had originally bought for $550 million;to Joe Mansueto for $35 million.
The once-groundbreaking title has reportedly been losing up to $3 million a year and marketshare;both in terms of advertising and cache;to upstarts like Blender, among others. Last year, the 550,000-circ Spin took in $33.83 million PIB revenue;flat when compared to 2004;on 580 ad pages, a decrease of four percent, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. Bob Guccione, Jr. launched Spin in 1985.
Hartle declined to comment. Representatives from Jordan, Edmiston, the media investment firm representing Spin, also declined to comment. Executives at Vibe/Spin Ventures were unavailable for comment.
"There’s a tendency for bigger publishers to look at smaller publishing companies and go, ‘Oh, they’re cute little operators,’" Hartle said in an interview with FOLIO: for a feature in the upcoming Entrepreneur Issue. "But that’s because we have to be nimble, quick and enterprising."