TUNA BURGER, HOLD THE RUMORS: What did Chuck Townsend and Steven Murphy have to talk about over their lunch at Patroon on Monday? Any number of things, no doubt, considering Townsend is president and chief executive officer of Condé Nast Publications (parent of WWD), and Murphy holds the same position at Rodale Inc., home of Men’s Health and Prevention. But what they actually did discuss, said Townsend, was their “concerns about the effectiveness of the MPA [Magazine Publishers of America, the industry trade group] and evolving Web strategies that are appropriate for magazine companies. We talked about how to effectively integrate the two media without one stepping unnecessarily on the other. He is one of the more articulate people out there on that subject.” Townsend added that he and Murphy have been friends since they were both working in the book business, and meet for lunch once every three months or so. (A spokeswoman for Murphy confirmed the meeting.)

What they didn’t talk about, said Townsend, was Condé Nast buying Rodale (a scenario sources say it has at least considered, if only idly), or vice versa. “[Murphy] tells me Rodale is in the most solvent position it’s probably ever been in, and not in play, and I’m going to confirm that we’re not in play, either,” Townsend said. Surely, if they ever do decide to hold that conversation, it will be in a less public spot.
Jeff Bercovici

BUDGET LIVING BONES: The offices are closed. Most of the staffers have moved on. Founding editor in chief Sarah Gray Miller hosted a memoriam a few weeks back. And now Budget Living has found a final resting place for its readers. Hearst Magazines recently purchased the now defunct magazine’s subscriber list for an undisclosed sum. A former Budget Living employee said the deal included an assumption of debt, and that subscribers’ information would be split among several Hearst titles.

A Hearst spokeswoman confirmed the list had been bought, saying, “We’ve selected a portion of the sub file that meets our demographic standards and we’re in the process of determining which titles we’ll be using it for, but it will be more than one magazine.”
Sara James

This story first appeared in the May 4, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.