Primedia Bags Emap

NEW YORK–Primedia, publisher of Seventeen and Automobile, said Monday that it had agreed to acquire specialty publisher Emap USA for $515 million — $505 million in cash and $10 million in warrants allowing the purchase of Primedia shares at $9 each.

U.K.-based Emap acquired the collection of specialty titles three years ago for $1.5 billion and last month took a $767.7 million write-down on the U.S. investment.

Primedia outbid American Media and Texas Pacific Group, to win the deal, excluding men’s title FHM. The package, expected to close by the end of third quarter, includes 60 consumer titles and makes Primedia the second largest U.S. magazine company after Time Inc.. It also comes with cable TV shows, Web sites and live events such as the Gravity Games, which air on NBC.

Emap, which dominates the automotive marketplace with its Motor Trend magazine group, would transform Primedia into a Goliath in Detroit. Emap’s struggling Teen, which has been the company’s oddball, would be paired with Primedia’s Seventeen. And both companies publish hunting and sporting magazines — Emap’s Guns & Ammo, and Primedia’s Shooting Times — making for a seemingly good fit.

But the Emap acquisition is risky, since Primedia CEO Tom Rogers has already banked millions on an ambitious Web strategy.