Business Title's March Issue Will Be Its Last

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Red Herring, the formerly high-flying new-economy magazine that had been seeking a buyer, became the most recent victim of the magazine ad downturn and the dot-com bust.

Staffers were informed today during a conference call that the company's March issue would be its last. The April issue, had it appeared, would have commemorated the title's 10th anniversary.

Steep ad page decline
Red Herring, which debuted in 1993,

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hung on longer than some of its new-economy magazine brethren, like Upside and Industry Standard. But in 2001 and 2002, it lost more than 60% of its ad pages, which declined from a 2000 high of 3,357.9 to 404.7 at the end of 2002.

An executive familiar with the financials said the magazine and related businesses, which included conferences and a Web site, took in around $10 million last year and was losing money. At its peak during the dot-com boom, this executive said, those businesses took in revenues in the range of $90 million.

As evidence of the title's steep fall, media investment bankers DeSilva & Phillips had been seeking a buyer for the past two weeks to ante up $2 million for the magazine and its related businesses. Back at its height, Red Herring sought -- and came close to securing -- a buyer for literally 100 times that amount.

Advertisers were spooked
In the conference call, Red Herring's CEO, Chris Dobbrow, told staffers that news of the sale and its low price spooked advertisers, said a staffer who was in on the call. While Mr. Dobbrow held out the possibility that a buyer would still resurrect the title, severance packages and details were discussed during the hour-long call.

Key business executives at Red Herring did not return calls or couldn't be reached, and a spokeswoman for Broadview Capital Partners, which owns the majority of Red Herring's parent company, RHC Media, did not immediately return a call.

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