The Cahners consumer titles, on the block since July, also attracted attention from Time Inc. and Walt Disney Magazine Publishing.
K-III had owned 33 special interest titles and only eight consumer magazines. Industry analyst Leo Scullin, president of Leo Scullin & Associates, New York, labeled the acquisition "essential for K-III. It's a good deal, not a fire sale."
Executives familiar with the deal said the Cahners titles generate about $100 million in ad and circulation revenue, almost half of it from American Baby.
Some observers like consultant Martin Walker think K-III may spin off some of the acquired titles-specifically, Sail and Power & Motoryacht.
But Harry McQuillen, K-III Magazines president-CEO, said Cahners' boating brands would strengthen advertisers' buys. "We're not planning a spinoff," he said. "We think the boating books can work with Automobile and make a nice men's package."