Bonnier Sells Ski and Skiing, Magazines Bought as Part of 'Time 18'

Print Business Had Diminished Since Acquisition

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Bonnier Corp., the publisher of magazines such as Field & Stream and Popular Science, has struck a deal to sell Ski and Skiing magazines to Active Interest Media, the companies confirmed today.

Ski magazine is being reunited with former owners.
Ski magazine is being reunited with former owners.

The magazines' print business has diminished since Bonnier bought them from Time Inc. in 2007 as part of a $225 million deal for 18 enthusiast magazines.

Ad pages fell 33.7% at Ski magazine last year, a steeper drop than the 8.2% decline across magazines as a whole, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Circulation has held roughly steady, averaging 456,945 in the second half of last year, but benefited along the way by absorbing subscribers to Skiing as that title cut back in print.

Skiing averaged paid circulation north of 400,000 when Time Inc. sold it but now distributes 50,000 copies per issue, according to the press kit on Bonnier's website.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, also includes the rest of the company's Mountain Group in Boulder, Colo.; Warren Miller Entertainment; Skiing Business and Nastar, a recreational ski and snowboard racing program.

The management team at Active Interest Media actually ran the properties before, from 1996 through 2003, when they were known as Mountain Sports Media. "This is back to the future for us since we used to own and run and built this group," said Andy Clurman, president and COO at Active Interest Media. "So we have a ton of history and affinity and experience with the brands."

"The model we have been following pretty successfully at AIM is to go find great legacy brands, in most cases print brands, and then dramatically grow the multiplatform audience and services around that," Mr. Clurman added. Warren Miller Entertainment is already a strong presence in film and TV, while Nastar is established in live events, he said.

"It's already a multiplaftom business, that if we bring some attention and investment and passion to, I think we can really get it onto a much bigger stage," Mr. Clurman said.

Bonnier Corp. CEO Dave Freygang has been focusing the company on its core businesses since he succeeded Terry Snow at the helm in January. "I am very happy to have found the right buyer for the Mountain Group, one that will be able to cultivate these specialized snow titles and properties," he said in a memo to staff on Tuesday. "I want to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues from these businesses for their commitment to Bonnier since 2007, and we wish them the best."

"This sale strategically allows us to concentrate our focus and shift resources to our businesses in California, New York and Winter Park," he added.

That echoes Time Inc.'s rationale for selling the 18 enthusiast magazines including Ski and Skiing back in 2007: It wanted to focus on its most important businesses and argued that the brands would be better off in a smaller company.

Active Interest Media publishes magazines including Backpacker, Sail and Yoga Journal. Its purchase of Ski and Skiing is scheduled to close on May 31.

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