Bonnier in Talks to Buy Men's Fitness From American Media
Bonnier Corporation, publisher of dozens of special-interest publications including Saveur and Popular Science, is in talks to buy Men's Fitness magazine from American Media Inc., according to two people with knowledge of the conversations.
One person said the expected sale price is "just shy of $30 million."
In January, AMI sold another fitness title, Shape, to Meredith Corporation, owner of female-centric titles such as Better Homes and Gardens.
"We can not comment on ongoing negotiations regarding any AMI properties at this time," an AMI spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for Bonnier declined to comment.
Bonnier's interest in Men's Fitness comes on the heels of a dramatic two-year turnaround for the magazine, which was a workout title for the creatine set and supplement advertisers. But in 2013, AMI invested in a splashy redesign to position it as a men's lifestyle publication with articles about grooming and fashion. Former Men's Health editor David Zinczenko, who now runs his own editorial consultancy and publishing company called Galvanized, was brought on to steer the direction of his former magazine rival. Patrick Connors, an associate publisher at Glamour, became publisher. Both are expected to stay on with the magazine should the deal be completed.
The 2013 redesign helped usher in a new class of advertiser, including Grey Goose, Garnier, Mazda, Ralph Lauren and Microsoft. And it sparked a 60% increase in revenue, according to one person close to the magazine.
Men's Fitness has also emphasized its growth in digital readership at a time when advertisers are steering more of their budgets from print to digital media. Unique visitors to the magazine's website were 4.2 million in February, a 66% increase from the previous year, according to ComScore.
Ad Age named Men's Fitness to its 2013 Magazine A List.
In buying Men's Fitness, Bonnier would once again unite Mr. Zinczenko with his brother, Eric Zinczenko, who is an exec VP at the company. In late 2013, Bonnier tapped Galvanized to help grow the company's branded books division.
The move would also pit Bonnier against Rodale, owner of Men's Health. Despite the improvement by Men's Fitness, Men's Health remains the larger of the two titles. Its paid and verified circulation through the last six months of 2014 topped 1.8 million, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. During that time, paid and verified circulation at Men's Fitness was nearly 615,000.
The magazines' digital audiences' are closer together, with Men's Health attracting 4.6 million unique visitors in February, according to ComScore.