Meredith Joins Food Fray, Buying EatingWell Magazine and Starting Recipe.com

Acquisition Comes After Publisher Shuttered Dwelling Title, Cut Jobs

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Less than two weeks after eliminating 75 jobs and closing ReadyMade magazine, Meredith Corp. has acquired EatingWell magazine and introduced a food site called Recipe.com.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Meredith said its cost won't have a material effect on the company's financial performance.

The food category has proven to be an area of interest and investment for magazine companies even while they retrench in others. But Meredith had lacked the food-centric brands that its largest rivals possessed.

Food Network Magazine, which Hearst Magazines and the Food Network introduced in 2008, is possibly the most successful new magazine in recent years. Hearst also runs Delish.com, which it began the same year.

Conde Nast shocked many people in 2009 by closing Gourmet magazine, which had become unprofitable during the recession, but continues to publish the larger Bon Appetit, introduced a Gourmet Live app last year and has been running Epicurious.com since 1995.

Time Inc. introduced MyRecipes.com, which gathers recipes from Time Inc. magazines such as Cooking Light and Southern Living, in 2007.

Allrecipes.com, part of Reader's Digest Association, is the biggest food site in the United States, attracting nearly 11.6 million unique visitors from home and work computers in May, according to Nielsen.

"Meredith already produces great food content across our brands, and food is our top advertising category," Meredith Chairman-CEO Steve Lacy said in a statement. "In acquiring EatingWell and launching Recipe.com, we've added two anchor brands to serve the 75 million American women we engage every month, and the marketers that want to reach them."

EatingWell, a bimonthly, averaged paid and verified circulation of 370,517 over the second half of last year, up 3.2% from the second half of 2009, according to its reports with the Audit Bureau of Circulations. EatingWell Media CEO Thomas Witschi is joining Meredith 's National Media Group as exec VP-president for women's lifestyle, responsible for the More, Fitness, Diabetic Living and EatingWell brands.

Recipe.com will also come out as a quarterly magazine at a cover price of $5.99, appear monthly in Meredith 's other magazines and have weekly segments on Meredith 's syndicated show "Better."

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