BANKRUPTCY RULING CLEARS WAY FOR 'WORTH' SALE
Defunct Magazine May Be Purchased Within Days
The deal for the 506,687-circulation title's assets was for only $2.4 million in cash and the assumption of some subscription-related liabilities, according to the company.
To go monthly in 2004
CurtCo will change the name of the magazine to Robb Report Worth. October and December issues will be published this year, and monthly publication will commence in January.
Bill Curtis, CEO of CurtCo, said the title's circulation will be narrowed to about 200,000 and it will aggressively pursue the ultra-high end reader, much like CurtCo's Robb Report does. One example: The new Worth will give advice on "buying and owning companies," instead of buying and selling stocks.
Revamping the product
The cover price will go to $6 from $3.95. Mr. Curtis said his company will invest around $15 million in revamping Worth's editorial product.
"The idea of having a sister magazine to Robb Report that actually covers the business thought process while Robb Report covers the passion is a really good answer for us," Mr. Curtis said.
Still up in the air is what role W. Randall Jones, Worth Media's founder-CEO and the magazine's public face, will play in the new magazine. Mr. Curtis said he would talk with Mr. Jones and Worth Media's president and chief operating officer, Alison Parks, this week.
"I really like [Mr. Jones] a lot," said Mr. Curtis. "I hope we can work something out." Worth Publisher Mahesh Krishnamurti is not expected to stay on.
Since picking up Robb Report in 2001, CurtCo has launched a number of other brand extensions off it, including The Robb Report Collection and Robb Report Home Entertainment & Design, covering other aspects of luxury lifestyle.
The road to the acquisition was cleared last week after a bankruptcy judge approved the contours of the proposed deal. Worth Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 29, citing debts as of March 31 of $9.7 million and assets of $2.6 million.
The liquidity crunch that landed Worth Media in Chapter 11 was precipitated in early March when its lender, Tesla Capital, cut off access to funding.
The personal finance niche has lost a number of titles in the current magazine economic downturn, with Time Inc.'s Mutual Funds and Bloomberg Personal Finance, among others, shutting down. For the first three months of the year, Worth's ad pages were down 26.5% to 86.1.