American Media Inc. reaches agreement to acquire ‘Us Weekly’ from Wenner Media
The publisher of Rolling Stone sells off its celebrity title to the publisher of the National Enquirer, with the newspaper company tronc rumored to have been interested, but either backing out or being beaten out of the acquisition
Well, the rumors were true. Tronc either decided to bag on the idea of acquiring Us Weekly from Wenner Media when it got to the due diligence stage, or else they were simply beaten out by American Media Inc.
Another rumor was that the staff at Us Weekly were scared to death to work for AMI because of the politics, but a scan of the last few issues of the magazine show that at the editors have no problem kissing up to the new administration.
My guess is that at least some of the staff will rethink things and decide having a job is better than not having one. In either case, the magazine is hardly Foreign Policy or The New York Review of Books, is it?
Here is the announcement:
NEW YORK, NY – March 15, 2017 – American Media, Inc. (AMI), the leading publisher of celebrity journalism and health and fitness magazines in the United States, today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Us Weekly from Wenner Media. Us Weekly is a cultural reference point and provides the most timely and current entertainment and lifestyle news through the lens of celebrity to a total audience of more than 50 million young and affluent consumers across its platforms.
“We are excited to bring one of the most distinctive and powerful media brands to AMI and are looking forward to continuing its great editorial standards its loyal and growing audience expects,” said AMI CEO and Chairman David J. Pecker. “The extraordinary growth of Us Weekly as a multi-media leader for advertisers under Victoria Lasdon Rose’s leadership underscores the vitality of the brand to deliver creative and engaging marketing opportunities with its star-studded events.”
Founded in 1977 by the New York Times Company, Us Weekly was acquired by Wenner Media in 1985 marking a turning point for the brand. It has been a pop culture staple for 40 years and its audience is greater now than at any time in its history. Us Weekly is one of the largest magazines in the country with just over 1,950,000 paid copies per week and an online presence of more than 22 million visitors per month.
In the past year, Us Weekly has established an in-house video operation that produces 20 editorial and branded videos per day and garners over 20 million average views per month, resulting in significant increases in both audience and advertising revenue.
“The addition of such a strong stand-alone media brand like Us Weekly underscores AMI’s continued focus on our assertive strategy to expand our business and further establish our distinct advantages in today’s new media landscape,” said Mr. Pecker.
“We are enormously proud of the evolution and tremendous accomplishments of Us Weekly, a brand that has continually defined celebrity news,” said Gus Wenner, Head of Digital of Wenner Media. “We know that AMI will provide Us Weekly with exciting opportunities and we look forward to following their continued success,” he added.
Methuselah Advisors is financial advisor to Wenner Media, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is legal advisor to Wenner Media. Cole Schotz P.C. is legal advisor to AMI.