NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The owners of Uptown magazine, including former Vibe Group Publisher Leonard Burnett Jr., are said to be near a deal to acquire the Vibe brand from CapitalSource, the major debt holder at Vibe when Wicks Group announced its shutdown in June.*
Wicks Group paid about $35 million, with financing from CapitalSource, to buy Vibe in 2006. And since the magazine's shutdown, executives close to the matter said, CapitalSource has been trying to recoup some of the unrecovered debt by accepting offers from potential buyers.
A spokesman for CapitalSource didn't respond to voicemails and e-mails seeking comment. Wicks Group declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Uptown declined to comment.
It's unclear what Uptown has planned for Vibe if the deal goes through, whether Vibe will return to print and how often it will publish, for example, or whether it will return as an online-only brand.
In any case, however, Vibe's resurrection would be welcome news not only for its fans but for the magazine industry, which has said goodbye to many titles as recession exacerbated the challenges posed by a changing media business.
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UPDATE: Hours after the story was reported, Uptown and its private equity backer, InterMedia Partners, said they had completed a deal to buy Vibe.