ART & COMMERCE




Semiweekly Frequency The magazine business is showing its spirit: Ad revenue and page counts are up; circulation revenue is growing; there are more startups than ever; and the stock prices of magazine-centered companies are rising. Merger and acquisition activity is also brisk. About 75 industry executives attended Fulcrum Communications’ mid-June crash course in the ABCs of M&A. They learned, thanks to a study by investment banking
boutique DeSilva & Phillips, that buyers have become more sophisticated.
Premiere properties are fetching premium prices, and run-of-the-mill titles are going at discounts. There are still plenty of strategic buyers: publishers K-III, Cowles and Hachett are all looking to expand operations. But some of the biggest deals are going to financial buyers–such as Willis Stein and Hellman & Friedman–likely to resell at a higher price. The flow of deals, as these portfolio managers seek liquidity, may persist for a while.–Alan
Gottesman (westendal pobox.com) is principal of West End Consulting.

THE GOTTESMAN FILE
Nearly two magazines per week
were acquired in the year ending April 30.
1996* 1997
Number of deals 78 89
Aggregate value $1,400 $1,520
Average value $17.9 $17.1
Deals in the Pipeline
Company Value
Chilton Publications $447
Institutional Investor $150-200
PTN $98
Krames Communications $70-90
American Lawyer Media $60-80
* Excludes $2.1billion sale of Ziff-Davis to Softbank.
Source: DeSilva & Phillips Inc. Dollar values in millions