Maxim Sold to Darden Media Group

Buyer has multiplatform plans for the brand

Maxim, the lifestyle title that once defined men's magazines in the U.S., has found a buyer in Darden Media Group.

Darden agreed to buy the whole Maxim portfolio, which includes the 2 million-circulation print product and its 15 international editions, as well as events and digital extensions. The deal is expected to close by the fourth quarter of this year.

Darden was formed earlier this year by Cal Darden Sr., a retired United Parcel Service senior vp who has had a varied business career outside media. He currently serves as chairman and CEO of Darden Development Group, a real estate development firm, and sits on the boards of Target Corp. and the Coca-Cola Co. He was named by Fortune as one of the most powerful black executives in the U.S. Darden's son, stockbroker Calvin Darden Jr., was in the news several years ago when he pleaded guilty to stealing from securities firms and investors.

Maxim's new owner said he plans to extend the brand across cable, radio and music platforms. "Although the publishing industry has seen seismic shifts over the past several years, transmedia brands that engage consumers and advertisers on multiple platforms [are] significantly on the rise," Darden said in a statement.

Founded in 1995 by British publisher Felix Dennis, Maxim was once a leading men's media property, characterized by its bawdy editorial focus on gadgets, beer and babes. However, it fell victim to the rise of digital media and a shrinking ad market. This past March, Maxim's current owner, Alpha Media Group, put it on the block.

The sale price was not disclosed, but magazines have proved a tough market in recent years, with Newsweek going for $1 and Businessweek selling for $5 million tops.

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