GRUNER & JAHR MAY SELL 'YM' MAGAZINE

Retains Investment Banker AdMedia Partners

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing has hired media investment bankers AdMedia Partners to explore a sale of its troubled teen title YM, according to a memo sent to G&J staffers this morning from company President-CEO Russell Denson.

According to the memo, given G&J's "single-title position in the teen market, our best course may be to focus the Company's resources on marketing in which we have a stronger position."

Assess interest
Mr. Denson's memo said the New York-based AdMedia "will be approaching a small number of companies to assess their interest in acquiring YM."

YM has been battered on both its circulation and advertising fronts. Early last year it was found to have substantially overstated its newsstand circulation, which is a key measurement of success in the hotly contested teen category. It later lowered its rate base, or circulation guaranteed to advertisers, to 1.5 million from 2.2 million.

Serious ad page decline
At least one YM insider insisted that newsstand sales at YM had strengthened recently, after the title was repositioned under a new editor, Linda Fears, to focus on older teens. But advertising at the title remained disastrous, with the title posting a 42.2% ad page decline for the first nine months of 2004, according to iMedia Industry Newsletter.

Executives familiar with the financials said the title was significantly unprofitable in 2003. Mr. Denson had privately expressed to executives a need to stay the course on YM, but had made clear that his patience was not unlimited. His memo today comes less than two weeks after the company eliminated over 80 positions -- around 60 layoffs and around 20 open positions being eliminated -- in a move the company had previously warned employees was necessary in order to save $12 million.

Long expected
YM's sale explorations had long been expected by several industry executives. Potential buyers for YM include Hachette Filipacchi Media US, which lost out to Hearst Magazines when Seventeen was sold, America Media and Hearst.

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