Bonnier’s Snow to Revamp Five Hachette Titles

Terry Snow, CEO of Bonnier Corp., making public his purchase of Hachette Filipacchi Media’s five enthusiast titles official Monday, plans to give his newest acquisitions some TLC.

The official word came following recent reports that a sale was near completion.

Snow said he planned to spend to expand the five titles across other media. “The quality of the circ and renewal rates are all very high,” he said. “But I think there’s an opportunity to be a little more current with the content and presentation. They just need a little TLC.”

The addition of American Photo, Popular Photography, Boating, Flying and Sound & Vision marks Bonnier’s third magazine deal in the past nine months and brings the Swedish-based company’s portfolio to 50 titles.

Snow has been unusually active in an otherwise tepid M&A market. He said that while he doesn’t have “a lot of confidence in mass interest” books, he’s bullish on the future of niche publications.

“If you’re privately held today, it’s a lot easier to maneuver and make acquisitions for the long term,” he said. “And it happens we’re focused on special interest, which happens to be available right now.”

Bonnier essentially doubled in size when it bought 18 niche titles from Time Inc. in 2007. While other publishers have been slashing expenses and shutting down titles as they weather the economic downturn, Bonnier, with its lean and decentralized operation, has avoided wholesale cost-cutting. Meanwhile, the company has grown from within, launching such titles as Science Illustrated and Snow, a high-end ski magazine.

DeSilva + Phillips represented Hachette in the newest sale. Terms were not disclosed, but observers have noted that with private equity money drying up and media companies shunning print acquisitions, it’s a good time to be a buyer.

Snow acknowledged that reality: “It’s a better time to be a buyer than a seller today. If you’re a buyer and you have confidence in the future, it’s a good time to do it.”