March 18, 2010 Last Updated 7:32 pm

Sandow Media acquires eight RBI titles; Reed divestiture picks up steam; Cahners empire now ancient history

Sandow Media announced today that they had acquired eight trade publications from Reed Business Information. Included in the deal was powerhouse magazine Interior Design, along with Furniture/Today, Gifts & Decorative Accessories, Home Textiles Today, Casual Living, Home Accents Today, Kids Today and Playthings.

Sandow’s announcement states that the company will take on 100 employees along with Reed operations in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sandow will expand its New York operations, as well. No word on whether, or how many, positions may be lost in the acquisition.

“This is a rare opportunity for Sandow Media to acquire a group of industry-leading magazines and a very strong management team,” said Adam I. Sandow, chairman and CEO of Sandow Media. “These brands each have robust print, digital, event and research businesses and hold the category leader position in each of their respective markets.”

“We are more than pleased that our valuable brands and our talented and dedicated employees have found a new home with Sandow Media, a highly creative publishing company that has a tremendous track record under the leadership of Adam I. Sandow,” said Reed Business Information-U.S. CEO John Poulin. “We wish them every possible success.”

2010 then will mark the end of the Reed Business Information as a major player in the U.S. trade magazine industry, and truly the end of the Cahners legacy (some would say that died many years ago). Interior Design, along with Variety, are two of the “household names” of the portfolio, a portfolio made up less of star brands but of solid industry leading titles. (Norm Cahners started his publishing empire modestly with the newsletter The Palletizer. He died in 1986 and Reed Elsevier changed the name of the division to Reed Business Information in 2002.)

Backed by Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), it is not known how much of this acquisition is the acquisition of debt, and how much is cash. The details, of course, are important as already in the past twelve months several VC-back B2Bs have reorganized to unload debt.

Adam I. Sandow launched Sandow Media in 2002, shortly after leaving The Knot, an Internet start-up. Last year Sandow Media acquired Western Interiors & Design, and then quickly merged the title with its own LUXE brand. LUXE magazine is published quarterly and has regional editions in Chicago, Colorado, Texas, Southern California and Seattle. It is a self-described “coffee-table magazine”. In 2008, Sandow acquired InSync from World Publications, which was relaunched as Watch Journal. Also in 2008 Sandow acquired Worth from CurtCo.

Sandow Media describes itself as “a leader in vertically integrated luxury media brands.” With the acquisition of the eight Reed titles Sandow Media could transform into a major B2B media player. Or, just as likely, Sandow could decide to integrate some of the titles, transforming those that remain and eliminating the others. The company’s track record shows it is not afraid to radically rethinking their titles.

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