No investment banker has yet won the assignment of overseeing the selloff of the former Capital Cities/ABC publications, which include The Kansas City (Mo.) Star and the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, Chilton Publications, and approximately 100 business-to-business titles.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. is the favorite to get the job, according to executives in the investment community. Allen & Co., which helped orchestrate the original $19 billion acquisition of Cap Cities/ABC by Disney last year, is likely to be retained as an adviser to Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
PLATFORM FOR CONSUMER TITLES
Disney said it isn't selling Fairchild-publisher of W, Women's Wear Daily, Daily News Record, Supermarket News and eight other titles-because it's "highly valuable to us because of its consumer core." The Disney spokesman added: "It's a great second platform from which to launch other consumer titles."
One Fairchild project in the works is Jane, from former Sassy editor Jane Pratt. The magazine for twentysomething women is slated to be launched in mid-August with a September issue and is expected to get a big marketing lift from promotion spots on ABC-TV, said the Disney spokesman.
Fairchild insiders say circulation is projected at 1 million, which would rival Conde Nast Publications' Mademoiselle and Hearst Magazines' Marie Claire.
McGraw-Hill Cos. has surfaced as a potential bidder for the properties that remain on the block.
POSSIBLE SWAP WITH MCGRAW
According to published reports, McGraw-Hill is considering spinning off the TV stations in its broadcast group, all ABC affiliates. That could present an opportunity for an asset swap with Disney, where McGraw-Hill could pick up Institutional Investor or other trade titles.
A McGraw-Hill spokesman said the company is "always reviewing the portfolio and looking at potential acquisitions and divestments, but we won't comment on any particular deal."
Disney is believed to be keen to do asset swaps as a way to minimize the capital gains that would come if it divested the long-held Capital Cities/ABC publishing ventures.
"Any deal we do will take into consideration the tax ramifications," said the Disney spokesman.