DONE DEAL: As talks for new investors to buy Dennis Publishing near a conclusion, private equity firms continue to snap up other media companies. The latest player is Clarity Partners, which has acquired a controlling interest in Modern Luxury Media, publisher of upscale city magazines including Angeleno, CS (Chicago Social) and The Atlantan for around $250 million. Clarity has a portfolio of media properties, including entertainment company Village Roadshow and Oxygen Media. It purchased its stake from the Roy E. Disney-founded Shamrock Capital, which bought into the publisher in 2004 for about $50 million. Modern Luxury had been on the block for seven months and attracted 30 potential buyers. It plans to use the cash to expand to new markets through more acquisitions. The most recent one was San Francisco magazine, which it bought in 2005 and redesigned from a city magazine to an oversize luxury title. Since 2004, the company has expanded from three magazines in three markets to 25 titles in 12 markets. Michael Kong, founder and chief executive officer, said Modern Luxury plans to tap 20 markets in the next five years. In September, the company will launch Miami magazine. — Stephanie D. Smith
HOPE FOR US ALL: Boy, has Cathie Black‘s income come a long way. The Hearst Magazines president revealed on “The View” on Wednesday that she made only $4,900 in her first job as a salesperson at the now-defunct Holiday magazine, which led to her initial experience in salary negotiation when she was promoted to one earning $11,000. But while we unfortunately can’t all have Black do our salary negotiations, she and financial expert Suze Orman, who also contributes to Hearst’s O, The Oprah Magazine, did provide some tips on the program on managing money and careers. “Be smart in the ‘going in’ part of a job negotiation,” Black advised. “Once you’ve accepted the job, you have no leverage.” She also discussed her climb to the top of the corporate ladder (although she was much more discreet about her current salary) while balancing a career and a family. “I believe that women can have it all. They just can’t have it all simultaneously.” Finally, Black explained her approach to dismissing employees (perhaps if they ask for too much money?). “If you do have to fire someone, you have another person in the room, because we live in a much more litigious world today. You don’t get into ‘he said, she said.’ You make it very short, and ideally you make it somewhere else, not your office. Why? Because it’s harder to get up and leave your own office and leave a person sitting there. Whereas if you’re in a conference room, you can say, ‘You know, I think it’s finished.'” If only the conference rooms at the Hearst Tower could talk. — S.D.S.
This story first appeared in the June 1, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
NEW TALENT: For her fall Collection campaign, Donna Karan has gone after the next big thing. Catherine McNeil, touted as one of a new crop of up-and-coming models, is featured in the ads, which, in typical Donna manner, are meant to evoke a celebration of the power of a woman. After several years, Karan has reunited with photographer Mario Testino, who discovered the Australian model. The campaign was shot at the Baryshnikov Arts Center within the 37 Arts building at 450 West 37th Street and features McNeil among a gaggle of men in black suits, black shirts and black ties, with cool black sunglasses. The campaign will break in August issues of Vogue, Vanity Fair and W, and run through October in major fashion and lifestyle books, including Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and Interview. — Marc Karimzadeh
RETAILERS NEED EDITORIAL HELP, TOO: Anyone who has argued that shopping magazines are just a hair’s breadth away from actual catalogues may find fodder in the gig of one former shopping magazine editor. Mandi Norwood, who launched and edited Shop Etc. until Hearst folded it in August, is now serving as the editorial director of Bath & Body Works, a rather unusual title in the beauty industry. Fresh from success at British Cosmopolitan, Norwood first came to the U.S. in 2000 to revive the flagging Mademoiselle, which folded under her watch a year later. A spokeswoman for Bath & Body Works said Norwood’s new job “harnesses her expertise at communicating with and marketing to women of all ages and her passion for retail. Mandi’s role spans the entire Bath & Body Works business, from strategic brand development to all aspects of advertising and marketing across all 1,600 stores.” — Irin Carmon
DRAMA QUEEN: In her first season as creative director at Piazza Sempione, French designer Nathalie Gervais has upped the drama in the brand’s ad campaigns by tapping photographer Maciek Kobielski and stylist Victoria Bartlett. The images, which break in the July issue of Vogue, were shot in Hancock, N.Y., and feature red-haired model Elise Crombez. The colors, textures and graphics hail from the northern hemisphere, namely the Black Forest, Scandinavian countries and Siberia, and are meant to evoke a calm strength, underscored by the use of mirrors. Gervais said she chose Kobielski to support a new talent with a strong identity. “We wanted someone that could translate the brand’s core identity, luxury, dynamism and self-assuredness. Maciek’s work embodied these values,” said Gervais. — Alessandra Ilari
CHICK LIT: Cosmopolitan, the magazine that recently introduced its readers to “75 Sex Tricks,” tapped into its wordier side with its first annual Fun Fearless Fiction awards, held Wednesday evening at Hearst Tower. Authors including Alice Sebold, Jane Green and Amy Sedaris (who received an award despite the fact that her book, “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence” is nonfiction) were asked not to give speeches and Sedaris took that suggestion to heart, saying, “I’ve had three drinks so I don’t think I will say anything.” Candace Bushnell, who hosted the event along with Carlos Watson, a host of NBC’s “Conversations With Carlos,” said one of her first jobs after moving to New York was at Hearst’s Good Housekeeping. Bushnell joked her career got a jump start after working on an article about a tuna surprise. “I was like, I’m on my way!” Kate White, Cosmo’s editor in chief, wasn’t up for an award, but a paperback copy of her novel, “Over Her Dead Body,” was included in the gift bags. Apparently the new one, “Lethally Blond,” was too expensive in hardback. — Amy Wicks