‘Stuff’ Folds Into ‘Maxim’

NEW YORK The new owners of Maxim and Blender said they plan to pour resources into those titles and confirmed earlier reports that they would fold Stuff as a stand-alone magazine.

Alpha Media Group, the new name for the Quadrangle Capital Partners-backed company that bought the former Dennis Publishing titles, closed on the $240 million-plus deal today.

Longtime Wenner Media exec Kent Brownridge, CEO of Alpha, said he planned to add at least 20 people over the next few months to bolster the titles’ cross-selling, marketing, print and online operations. Flagship Maxim‘s growth has leveled off in recent years, but Brownridge said he plans no major course change.

“It’s the largest young men’s magazine in the world right now. I’m not going to change anything,” he said. “Am I going to try to make it better at what it does? Absolutely.”

Meanwhile, he plans to increase Blender‘s rate base to 900,000 from 800,000 in January 2008 and to 1 million a year later, through a variety of consumer marketing sources.

Stuff will live on as a section, “Stuff for Men,” in Maxim. The October issue, which is long past closing, will be the last, although Stuffmagazine.com will continue. Many staffers are expected to remain.

Dennis launched Stuff as a smaller-circulation, shopping-focused title, to block Emap’s FHM from gaining ground on Maxim by offering advertisers a lower-cost alternative. But Stuff has teetered between the red and black, and FHM folded late last year (FHMonline.com continues to publish), leading some to question Stuff‘s reason for being.

This year through August, Stuff‘s ad pages declined 3.4 percent to 392, per the Mediaweek Monitor. Total paid and verified circulation, meanwhile, declined 4.8 percent to 1.2 million in the second half of 2006, with single-copy sales plummeting 34.9 percent, per the Audit Bureau of Circulations.