Dennis Comes Clean About Titles For Sale

After Nearly a Year, Fesses Up to Retaining Allen & Co.

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- After nearly a year of refusing to comment on "rumors" that it had retained Allen & Co. to find a buyer for Maxim, Stuff and Blender, Dennis Publishing has confirmed the worst-kept secret in publishing: The company's titles are indeed on the block and are indeed being represented by Allen & Co.
It is not clear why the company decided to announce a sale effort now, but it may have something to do with the results so far.
It is not clear why the company decided to announce a sale effort now, but it may have something to do with the results so far.

'Three successful magazine brands'
"Dennis Publishing Inc. today announced that it has retained media investment firm Allen & Co. as its exclusive financial advisor to explore various strategic alternatives available to the company, including a possible sale of the company," a three-sentence statement reads. "Through its three successful magazine brands, Maxim, Blender and Stuff, Dennis Publishing Inc. dominates the coveted 18- to 34-year-old male audience. This includes successful brand extensions ranging from more than 25 international editions, worldwide websites, worldwide mobile-telephone content delivery to branded network and cable television programs, a satellite radio channel, and various successful branded product-line extensions."

It is not clear why the company decided to announce a sale effort now, but it may have something to do with the results so far. The New York Times reported in December that someone close to the company said a deal might close by January, but that didn't happen.

One of the best
Even if Maxim is one of the best multiplatform and licensing plays among magazine brands, which it undoubtedly is, the magazines themselves aren't growing like they once did. Maxim's paid circulation of 2.5 million, for example, is certainly enormous, but it has hovered at about that level since 2001; its ad pages last year, meanwhile, fell 6.8%, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

Blender's circulation and ad pages continue to grow, but the five-year-old magazine isn't a big moneymaker. Stuff has a big paid and verified circulation, averaging 1.2 million over the second half of last year, but that was down 4.8% from the second half of 2005. Its ad pages fell 14% last year after small slips in 2005, 2004 and 2003.

One more worrying sign comes from the U.K. in today's Guardian, which reports that the market for racy men's magazines is tanking even in England, where the lad books came from in the first place.
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