Hudson News has taken a minority stake in Comag Marketing Group. The deal is effective today and along with its stake in Comag, Hudson News president James Cohen will become vice chairman of CMG’s board. Michael Korenberg, managing director and vice chairman of the Jim Pattison Group, which bought Comag from Condé Nast and Hearst in January, will remain chairman. Comag president Jay Felts will remain in his position as well.
The deal signals another major shift in the magagzine newsstand supply chain, bringing once disparate players closer together. The Jim Pattison Group already owns wholesaler The News Group and with Cohen’s minority buy-in, that puts two wholesalers in much closer proximity with each other and a national distributor—effectively closing the middleman gap.
While the Comag/Pattison arrangement is said to remain operationally separate, there’s likely to be some degree of an "opening of the books" between the groups. And now Hudson News appears to be gaining from that arrangement as well.
"I don’t know the details, but I’m cautiously optimistic about it," says one observer. "It appears to address the vital issue of breaking down the barriers between national distributors and wholesalers that have impeded channel efficiency for so many years."
Check back here for more details as the story develops.