Page Six reports today that Andrew Fox, whose company Track Entertainment operates nightlife directory Clubplanet.com, is predicting the death lad mag Maxim, unless its publishers go quietly.
According to the gossip column, Fox has contacted Maxim‘s majority stake holder, private equity fund Cerberus, and laid out a five-point plan to save the title and is offering $40 million for the brand. “Either you sell it to me, or by March it will be gone,” Fox threatened.
If Fox is to be believed, Cerberus has shown interest in his offer but kept him at arm’s length. But will his plan actually keep Maxim alive?
The men’s magazine has had its share of problems this past year. In July, Cerberus took over control of Maxim from the hedge fund Quadrangle Group, which purchased the title, along with the since shuttered Stuff and Blender, from Dennis Publishing two years ago. As Keith Kelly reported at the time, “while Cereberus formally takes control of Maxim, nobody expects it to be a long-term holder.”
Maxim‘s publisher, Alpha Media Group, also lost its CEO, Stephen Duggan, in September and the magazine has seen ad pages drop 35.8 percent during the first half of the year, paidContent reported.
Maybe Fox’s five-point plan will be the only thing that can save the magazine:
“My vision is to make Maxim the must-have again, using event production, Web site development, e-commerce and digital marketing and online programming. I am trying to take a strong brand and give it legs for the future. I would take the magazine and all its digital properties and make it into a $300 million business again.”
Unfortunately, that $300 million business may not include a print version of Maxim. Fox refused to speculate on the print mag’s future to Page Six, but he did cryptically say that, under his oversight, there would be “95 percent more focus on the Web product.”
If Playgirl‘s story is any indication, taking a brand like Maxim online-only might be a kiss of death no worse than the one Fox envisions if its kept in the hands of Alpha Media and Cerberus.
Update: A Maxim spokeswoman told FishbowlNY that Fox’s claims “amount to nothing more than self-aggrandizing gossip.” Whether or not Fox thinks he can save the magazine the question remains: does it actually need saving?
Mogul tells Maxim: Sell or die –Page Six