B-DAY: Will Kent Brownridge reenter the magazine business along with Quadrangle Group by winning the bid for the Dennis Publishing trio of titles for sale: Maxim, Stuff and Blender? Media insiders may find out before they hit the beach for the long holiday weekend. Final bids are due today for the three magazines — owner Felix Dennis is holding on to The Week — and speculation has swirled for weeks that ex-Wenner executive Brownridge and Quadrangle will be the party most likely to go the distance. Though it is not known what Quadrangle is expected to bid, one source close to the deal believed its offer could be north of $235 million.
Although Quadrangle is said to be the front-runner, others think a dark horse could swoop in and outbid it at the last minute with a monster offer, à la Rupert Murdoch and his $5 billion bid for The Wall Street Journal. Analysts have put billionaire Ron Burkle in that camp, believing his recent purchase of Primedia’s Enthusiast Media titles through his investment firm, Yucaipa Cos., proves he is willing to pay a high price for a complex media property. But at the end of the day, according to both analysts and sources familiar with the deal, the winner won’t come down to the highest bidder. The sale depends on whether Felix Dennis, who is said to be looking for $250 million for the titles, accepts any of the offers on the table. — Stephanie D. Smith
NEW FACE: Lindsay Lohan might usually be seen in Gucci, Chanel or Prada, but come fall, she’ll be hawking a whole new label: Jill Stuart.
The contemporary sportswear designer has snagged Lohan to be the face of its print ad campaign, which will hit August magazines and run through November. The campaign marks the first time Jill Stuart has chosen a celebrity for her ads.
“I can’t say enough fantastic things about Lindsay,” Stuart said of her choice to go with the starlet rather than a model. “She is sexy and smart, exactly what the Jill Stuart woman embodies.”
This story first appeared in the May 23, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The campaign, which was shot in Tokyo by Mario Sorrenti, showcases Lohan in a series of black-and-white images modeling products from the entire Jill Stuart assortment from the higher-end Jill Stuart line, the Jill by Jill Stuart collection and the handbags, which will launch in 100 department and specialty stores in June, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. The ads showcase Lohan in a sensual state, as in one where she is in a bed, hugging the Emelle tote in black patent leather and wearing nothing much more than a sequin miniskirt.
“[Lindsay] resonates with the contemporary consumer on many levels,” said Tim Schifter, chairman and chief executive officer of Schifter + Partners, the accessories firm that holds the license for Jill Stuart handbags and small leather goods. “Mario’s photographs capture Lindsay’s sensual beauty and Jill’s modern fashion, and his choice of black and white adds glamour and intrigue to the images.” — Julee Greenberg
BREAK ROOM: The ever-closer worlds of media, finance and fashion were well represented at the Four Seasons Grill Room on Tuesday afternoon. Though the combined financial heft of former Citigroup chief executive officer Sandy Weill (who was with his wife, Joan), the Blackstone Group co-founder/chairman Pete Peterson and co-founder/ceo Steve Schwartzman was enough to impress, the presence of Tom Ford drew even more attention. Ford, who wore a jacket per Four Seasons’ dress code but did without a tie, broke bread with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper (could a segment on Cooper’s CNN news show, “Anderson Cooper 360,” be in the works?) Meanwhile, Barbara Walters lunched with Annette de la Renta, wife of Oscar, and Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner with Schwartzman, while New York magazine owner Bruce Wasserstein and HBO executive vice president Richard Plepler dined with respective companions. — S.D.S.
GREENER PASTURES: Sometimes the call of the open prairie is enough to draw a magazine editor out of New York City. That’s what happened to Alice Kim, who’s leaving In Style after a decade to open an accessories store in Omaha. The accessories director at the Time Inc. fashion monthly resigned May 14, but will continue working through midsummer, after which she’ll make the big move West.
Why Omaha? In a sense, it’s all thanks to Kurt Andersen, who grew up there. Kim, who doesn’t have family or friends there, had recurring encounters with people and things that came from the town since writing a story on the city seven years ago. But she was spurred to move after reading Andersen’s piece on Omaha’s changing cultural scene in T:Travel in March. “It pretty much confirmed what I had already imagined and believed Omaha to represent in my mind,” explained Kim, though she never set foot in the state until the weekend after she resigned from In Style.
Kim plans to open her shop this fall and carry bags, shoes, jewelry and home accessories from designers including Bryan Atwood, Lambertson Truex, MZ Wallace and Alexis Bittar, as well as shoes by Sigerson Morrison (since co-founder Kari Sigerson is from Omaha, said Kim). She also wants to carry coats by Thakoon Panichgul, as he, too, grew up in Omaha. Will she serve Omaha’s most well-known resident, billionaire investor Warren Buffett? “Maybe Warren Buffett will come to my store, but I’m thinking [Buffett’s daughter] Susie Buffett may be more my customer.” — S.D.S.