FEET UNDER THE DESK: Kent Brownridge and Quadrangle Capital Partners completed the acquisition of Dennis Publishing on Wednesday. Brownridge, sitting in Dennis founder Felix Dennis‘ old office, described his first day as “fun, and crazed.” It clearly was: In the same breath it revealed the closing of the deal, the new company — now called Alpha Media Group — said it would fold Stuff after its October issue. The name will live on as a special section within Maxim, and online at stuffmagazine.com. Stuff readers already comprise a significant portion of Maxim readers — 56 percent of the subscribers to Stuff also subscribe to Maxim, said Brownridge.
In addition, he said Blender’s rate base will increase to 900,000 from 800,000 as of January 2008, and the rate base will go up to 1 million in January 2009.
Stuff’s closure comes as no surprise given its recent circulation report and the somber mood at the title’s September cover party on Tuesday hosted by Ivanka Trump. “Having the event was a good closure opportunity to thank our advertisers for the past nine years,” said Stuff publisher John Lumpkin. “It was a dignified finale to Stuff given what’s happened to other magazines that have folded.” Few magazines get to go out with a cocktail in hand, but Stuff’s long-scheduled party inadvertently became a wake of sorts, with the Trump Tower’s early-Eighties marble ostentation as funeral home. Trump herself, appearing on the September cover for the second year in a row, said Stuff “has always treated me well.” As for the impending demise — at that point a rumor — she said briskly, “If it happens, it would be a shame, but it happens in the business.”
Stuff editor in chief Dan Bova called his new boss Brownridge “a solid businessman — he wants to take the reins and make this a powerhouse.” He also added, “I don’t have any idea what the plans are.” Dennis Publishing USA president Stephen Colvin is on vacation, but will not return to the company. It is not known where he will go, but sources close to Colvin believe the British executive would like to stay in the U.S.
This story first appeared in the August 16, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
About 30 staffers will be affected by the closing of Stuff, but Brownridge said many are switching over to similar functions at the company’s other two books. “About half will be staying and half will be leaving.” It is not yet known whether Bova and Lumpkin will do either. — Stephanie D. Smith and Irin Carmon
EXIT IN STYLE: Sarah Gray Miller, editor of In Style Specials, is leaving the Time Inc. camp to become the editor in chief of O, The Oprah Magazine’s quarterly shelter spin-off, O at Home. O at Home will increase its rate base from 625,000 to 650,000 effective with the spring 2008 issue. She succeeds Suzy Slesin, who is leaving the magazine. Miller will leave In Style in about two weeks, but sources close to the magazine said no tears will be shed upon her departure. Miller, founding editor of defunct Budget Living, joined Time Inc. as a consultant in 2005. She worked on an Entertainment Weekly movie spin-off, Look, before joining In Style Specials in spring 2006. Sources said Miller wasn’t that well-liked among the In Style staff both because of her personality and her skills as an editor, and had a rocky relationship with In Style managing editor Charla Lawhon. A spokeswoman for In Style said it would name a replacement for Miller shortly. — S.D.S.