BIDDING BOYS: The sale of Dennis Publishing is moving to the next stage after the latest round of bids came in Tuesday. Sources close to the deal said the Quadrangle Group, which is working with ex-Wenner executive Kent Brownridge, is so far the most serious bidder among the potential buyers, which are said to be mostly private equity firms. Sources said Dennis received three or four offers in the second round of bidding, ranging from $200 million to $220 million, short of the $250 million or more Felix Dennis is said to want for his stable of men’s titles. Sources did not name specific parties that made offers in the latest round of bids, but Veronis Suhler Stevenson and Elevation Partners — the private equity firm involving U2 frontman Bono that recently bought a stake in Forbes — have both been said to have taken a look at the company, which includes men’s magazines Maxim and Stuff and music monthly Blender. The third and final round of bids is expected in three to four weeks. — Stephanie D. Smith
GREAT TIMING: Bernard Arnault, Tyra Banks, Kate Moss and Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz are now part of a very exclusive club — the 2007 Time 100, the newsweekly’s third annual list of the most influential actors, politicians, writers, scientists and designers. Time will unveil the list in its May 4 issue, in which such notables including Harvey Weinstein, Naomi Wolf and Natalie Portman contribute profiles about the honorees. Among the musings, Weinstein writes of Arnault: “He appreciates the power of art to improve and shape every area of our culture, including fashion, business, real estate and politics….I once innocently asked Bernard why he was skipping a formal reception after [John] Galliano‘s Dior show in Paris. He responded that he had other priorities, the first of which was rushing home to cheer on France in the World Cup.” The notables named to the list will gather at a gala in their honor on May 8 at Jazz at Lincoln Center. — S.D.S.
This story first appeared in the April 26, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
IMAGE UPDATE: Edgy and funky are two words that formerly had little connection to LeSportsac — but the company hopes to take a fashion-forward step in that direction with its upcoming ad campaign. “We are turning up the volume,” said Elizabeth Kiester, chief creative director. “We want to forecast fashion trends and be proactive now, not reactive.” And Kiester has experience in that department, from her former positions at Jane and Marie Claire magazines. The new campaign, which was shot Wednesday and today at a studio in Chelsea, will appear in the September issues of Lucky, Teen Vogue and In Style.
There will be three images, shot by Bela Borsodi, whose work has appeared in Details and Vogue Nippon. Each image molds a different variety of LeSportsac bags, to look like clothing, around the form of an imaginary model. All the bags will be available in stores this summer, Kiester said.
Stephen Niedzwiecki, founder and creative director at YARD (the ad agency behind the campaign), joked that the images should look like “‘America’s Next Top Model,’ made out of bags.” Here’s hoping the images get more coverage than most of the show’s winners. — Amy Wicks
FULLER GOOD LIFE: The name of the event was “You Go, Girl!” and, accordingly, the Canadian Consulate in New York had rounded up American Media Inc. editorial director Bonnie Fuller to speak and read from her book, “The Joys of Much Too Much.” With her husband in the audience and copies of Star dispersed among the mostly female attendees, Fuller held forth on work-life balance and why Canadians are funnier.
(They have to try harder.)
Asked whether mentors had played a role in her rise, Fuller seemed at a loss, and then said most of the people she had come to for advice over the years happened to be men. Asked about the wage gap between U.S. men and women, Fuller said it was partly because taking time off to be mothers had taken women off track for high-earning positions. “I find it hard to find senior women to promote where I am, in the magazine business,” she said.
Fuller had, however, already lent a hand that night to co-headliner Elaine Allison. When Allison’s motivational speech was opened up for questions but met with awkward silence, Fuller graciously raised her hand. (Allison would later return the favor by allowing her cell phone to ring not once, but twice, during Fuller’s time at the podium.) “You mentioned that your next book was partly about how to ask for a raise,” she said from the back seats. “I’m sure that’s something we’d all like to know more about.” The irony of the question may have been lost on anyone in the room unaware of Fuller’s history of ricocheting from one magazine company to another and winding up as one of the highest-paid editors in the industry. — Irin Carmon
OVERSEAS ADDITIONS: Condé Nast lured away a top executive at Hachette Filipacchi Media to join its operations in China, where it currently publishes Vogue and Self with local partners. Weiming Cao will become managing director of Condé Nast China, effective May 7. He replaces Bentham Liu, who will become an executive chairman and serve as an adviser to the company. Cao, who will be responsible for the day-to-day management of Condé Nast’s China division, served as both publisher and managing director of Hachette’s business in China, as well as general manager, China and Hong Kong, and director of finance, human resources and administration. — S.D.S.