Financier's Deal Worth $55 Million in Cash

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- New York Media Holdings, an entity controlled by trusts associated with the chairman of investment bank Lazard, acquired Primedia's New York Magazine, the companies announced late today.

The deal was for $55 million in cash plus the assumption of circulation-related liabilities, which were valued by executives familiar with them at around $2 million.

Late bid
The winning bid, from Bruce Wasserstein, chairman of Lazard, did not arrive by the Dec. 11 deadline, said executives familiar with the process, whereas competing offers from American Media, CurtCo Robb Media, and a consortium headed by Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman all did. A number of media outlets, including Advertising Age, have previously predicted Mr. Zuckerman as the front-runner.

Mr. Wasserstein spent much of the past weekend poring over New York's numbers, said executives familiar with the matter, a process that continued into until early this week.

A call to Mr. Wasserstein's spokeswoman was not immediately returned. Mr. Wasserstein has investments in American Lawyer Media and business trade title The Deal.

Frenzied afternoon
This afternoon saw a frenzied end to the bidding, with executives involved in the transaction scrambling alongside reporters to hear news on the deal's finale. At one point, people familiar with the matter said, Mr. Zuckerman attempted to make a late, amended bid, which proved fruitless.

"I am sitting here in shock," said an executive affiliated with a competing bid.

Mr. Zuckerman's spokesman decline to comment on any aspect of the deal, except to say on behalf of Mr. Zuckerman's consortium, "We wish Mr. Wasserstein all the best with New York Magazine." Mr. Zuckerman's team included Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinsten, Deutsch CEO Donny Deutsch and financiers Nelson Peltz and Jeffrey Epstein.

Losing bids were in the $50 million range, said executives familiar with them.

Marginally profitable
The deal, meanwhile, netted Primedia a fat multiple for New York, a marginally profitable title that saw its marquee name outweigh more mundane business concerns. Full calculations of New York's bottom line left executives with cash flow of around $1 million to $2 million.

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