Stuff Publisher’s Fate Undecided as Magazine is Stuffed Into Maxim
Dennis' $240 million sale to Quadrangle is finalized.
In a move that has been rumored ever since Dennis Publishing’s sale agreement to Kent Brownridge and the Quadrangle Group in June, Stuff magazine and its 1.3 million circulation will be stuffed into its laddie brother Maxim. Quadrangle made the official announcement yesterday during its closing on the $240 million acquisition.
As part of the folding, MIN cited unverified sources claiming that Stuff publisher John Lumpkin was out at the newly-formed Alpha Media Group. But Lumpkin tells Folio: Alert that nothing has been decided. "There continue to be ongoing discussions regarding my role at Alpha Media," says Lumpkin. "While nothing yet has been agreed upon, I hope to remain if the right opportunity presents itself."
Stuff was launched in 1998 yet, despite its pioneering owner Felix Dennis, always seemed to suffer in comparisons to Maxim, its watered-down approximation characterized by Ad Age’s Nat Ives as "Maxim Lite."
According to Alpha Media, stuffmagazine.com will not be affected.
Lumpkin says Stuff’s upcoming October issue – its last — was up 30 percent in ad pages over October 2006. But according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX figures, the magazine was hemorrhaging at the newsstand, down 33.9 percent in single copy sales. Maxim, with a circulation of 2.5 million, remained flat.
"As a standalone, [Stuff] just didn’t make a whole lot of economic sense," said one industry source with knowledge of the deal. "I’m not sure why they haven’t folded Blender. Both Stuff and Blender were unprofitable. And the music market is fragmenting. Those magazines benefit from having records promoted and the record industry in turmoil."