Publisher of Men’s Health, Women’s Health Explores Sale

70-year-old Rodale weighs its future

Rodale's magazine and book publishing businesses will be bought by Hearst. Runner's Magazine, Women's Health Magazine, Men's Health Magazine

Rodale, the publisher of iconic titles Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention, and books like the South Beach Diet, is looking toward a future that might include a sale of the 70-year-old business.

The privately-held company’s board initiated a process today to explore several strategic alternatives which include the sale of the company, or the sale of some properties or groups of properties.

“For over 70 years Rodale has inspired exceptional customer loyalty through its uncompromising commitment to the creation of health and wellness content with a purpose,” said Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale and granddaughter of company founder J.I. Rodale. “We believe that Rodale’s brands can continue to expand and deepen their connectivity with consumers across all platforms through targeted investment and expertise in leading edge technology, brand-building, and commercialization.”

J.I. and Anna Rodale’s interest in organic farming led to its first publication Organic Farming and Gardening in 1942. That led to the publication of Prevention in 1950 and, over the years, the acquisitions of magazines Bicycling and Runner’s World, and the launch of Men’s Health, and, later, Women’s Health. Men’s Health, with 38 editions in 62 countries claims to be the world’s largest men’s magazine brand.

The company’s book publishing arm had its first No. 1 New York Times best-seller with 2003’s South Beach Diet. Rodale went back to its roots earlier this year when it relaunched its original title, Organic Gardening, into a mobile, social and ecommerce-centric business.

But like all publishers, Rodale has not been immune to the loss of print subscribers and advertisers.

“We are excited to explore opportunities for potential buyers of our business who can build on the strong foundation of our commitment to inspiring health, healing, happiness and love by enhancing core capabilities and resources for our brands,” said Rodale.

@ChrisAriens Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.