Industry observers say the company, which publishes seven magazines, ranging from women's fitness title Shape to hard-core male muscle mag Flex, could fetch north of $250 million.
The sale is being handled by Rothschild Group. A prospectus for the company, which executives said is projected to have around $27 million cash flow in 2002 on revenues of around $135 million, has been circulating for a couple of weeks.
The privately held publisher is one key part of an empire built on bodybuilding instruction and dietary supplements marketed by Canadian emigres Joe and Ben Weider. The supplement portion of the Weider empire, Weider Nutrition International, which is publicly traded, is not for sale.
Shape, its most prominent property, has a circulation of 1.7 million and, through August, saw its ad pages fall 6.8% to 855.7.