Add New York Magazine to the growing list of media properties for sale — maybe.
The magazine’s owner, New York Media, operated by the wealthy Wasserstein family whose late patriarch Bruce Wasserstein in 2003 bought the outlet for $55 million (seen then as a deal for a well-known magazine that was struggling financially), is said to be sniffing around for a possible sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But it may be that the media company, which has under the Wassersteins’ expanded to include Web offshoots Vulture, The Cut and The Strategist, is simply looking for an outside infusion of capital.
An industry source noted that the sites are doing well, with traffic increasing month-over-month at least at New York Magazine, but it makes sense to bring in some outside money through a minority stake in the company to make way for further expansion of its key brands, or even another acquisition. The source noted growth is the key at New York, not divestment.
That assessment seems to gel with New York’s somewhat vague statement on the question of whether it is looking to sell outright. A spokeswoman said the company is “focused on building our business organically” but that it does “explore investment interest and strategic opportunities as a general practice” and noted specifically the acquisition earlier this year of Splitsider, a comedy site, from The Awl.
“Given the growth New York Media has seen, it makes sense for us to evaluate the market for opportunities to continue to develop the business,” the spokeswoman added.
She declined comment on the likelihood of a strategic investment or if potential buyers or investors have put a valuation on the company, but it seems safe to assume it’s worth much more than $55 million, so maybe Pam Wasserstein, who in 2016 became chief executive officer of New York Media, is looking to cash in.
Should the company be looking to bring in an equity partner to further grow its business, however, as the statement seems to suggest, there are plenty of media brands for sale right now.
One of the former Gawker Web sites Univision is looking to offload could be a match with New York’s tendency toward pithy commentary, or there could be interest in expanding its popular fashion and celebrity coverage at The Cut by bringing on W magazine from Condé Nast, which was just put up for sale as that publisher is looking to tighten up its business. With the right equity partner, New York can probably take its pick.
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