DISNEY TO KEEP FAIRCHILD

Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday it will not be selling Fairchild Publications, whose properties include W, WWD, Jane, Daily News Record, Footwear News and six other publications.
Disney will also hold on to Los Angeles magazine, which will become part of Fairchild.
Disney had announced last week that it was exploring “strategic options” for its publishing operation, which led to a blitz of published reports that Fairchild and other divisions were for sale.
“Because of the wonderful work that was accomplished by all of us in this room and the success of W, the Disney company is not going to sell Fairchild Publications or Los Angeles magazine,” Michael Coady, president and chief executive officer of Fairchild, told a gathering of nearly 600 employees Thursday. “The company will remain intact.”
He said Fairchild will continue to look at business opportunities and is going full steam ahead with the fall launch of Jane.
“It’s a thrilling endorsement,” said Patrick McCarthy, who is to become chairman and editorial director of the company on March 6.
“All the work that we’re doing is being noticed and appreciated, and both ABC and Disney want us to grow and expand,” added McCarthy.
“Going forward, our plans for the company have not changed,” Coady said. “We want to expand in the consumer area — we looked for three years before we found Jane, and now it’s a major launch. Now that Los Angeles magazine is part of the company, we have a full plate. We’re going to take a deep breath and digest what we have.”
In a telephone interview, John Dreyer, Disney’s vice president of corporate communications, said, “We’ve always said we were looking at strategic alternatives for ABC Publishing, which included retaining assets, or an asset swap or spinoff. Because Fairchild is such a strong performing consumer group and because its core is in the consumer magazine business — which we are continuing to grow — we decided it was a valuable asset to retain.
“Fairchild provides us with another strong platform, in addition to Disney Publishing, in which to launch new consumer publications, including Jane, which is in the works. There will be a large cross-company promotion to launch Jane.”
He cited several reasons why Disney decided to keep Los Angeles magazine. “For one thing it’s our home. City magazines, in general, are very desirable and very successful. They’ve got great audiences and a large market. It’s a magazine that has a good audience, and one that can be grown.”
As for the rest of ABC Publishing, Dreyer noted that the company hopes to complete a sale of those operations in six to 12 months. “That’s our target time frame. We’ll do what’s in the best interests of the company and the shareholders.”

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