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What I hear. Or even suspect:

If and when Martha Stewart finds that venture capitalist to back her and bails out, Time Inc. may retain a 20% or so interest in Martha Stewart Living as a hedge. Martha is, incidentally, one of Time magazine's 25 most influential people.

Despite what they told Steve Florio when he inquired of Disney if they would sell their W and Women's Wear Daily etc., the talk is the publications are being peddled and at least one mag group tells me they were approached by the West Coast behemoth.

A sleeper for your next trip to London: Try Whites Hotel on Bayswater Road, overlooking Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. An Edwardian gem with 54 high-ceilinged rooms, some with balconies for gazing out at the greensward, and a working fireplace in the bar. Whites (no apostrophe, please, we're British!) is owned by Thistle Hotels group.

Washingtonian mag Editor Jack Limpert honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with their local distinguished service award. Stout fellow, Jack.

New York Times Custom Publishing and Intrawest Corp. (they own and operate mountain resorts in the U.S. and Canada) will debut a new lifestyle & sport mag called Mountain Life in October.

Yet again this summer major ad agencies like Y&R, Saatchi and Ogilvy have hired a total of about 60 college kids of various racial and ethnic backgrounds in the 23- year-old summer work program of the Four A's.

From Chicago Doug Fierro reports that through June ad pages at Chicago are up 11% and revenues up 17% over last year. Doug's also opened a NY sales office at Two Park Ave.

Linda W. Boff left Times Mirror Magazines after nearly eight years to become director of marketing and promotions for the American Museum of Natural History.

When I asked if Ed Kosner's difficulties at Esquire might be those of a generation gap, Steve Florio's response was, "No, look at Art Cooper."

Meet Christina Ferrari and Vicci Lasdon Rose, editor and publisher of Gruner & Jahr's YM. Their teen monthly still lags Seventeen substantially in ad pages (through June about 230 pages against 550 pages). But for the first half YM pages are up 13% over a year ago while Seventeen's are off 4% (says Ms. Lasdon Rose). "Our story," she says, "isn't about our friends at Seventeen, it's about growth, both in real revenue and in circulation." Both mags sell just over 2 million copies a month at a $2.95 cover price but YM boasts of its growth since February of '93 from 1.3 million to 2 million-plus. Editor Ferrari assumed her job in April of this year after having been exec editor and previously at Redbook. She's from Palo Alto but went to Berkeley, is young, is beautiful, is married to a chap named Whitney but uses her maiden name professionally. "Nothing shabby about being a Ferrari," says Publisher Lasdon Rose.

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