Here’s Why It Makes Sense for Condé Nast to Sell Brides, W and Golf Digest
The 3 titles are for sale
After Condé Nast reportedly lost more than $100 million last year, it’s no surprise the publisher is doubling down on its core brands and dropping three more specialized, niche publications, media buyers say.
With a roster of recognizable names including The New Yorker, Vogue and Vanity Fair, titles like Brides, Golf Digest and W seem more like outliers these days.
“It’s pretty clear, based on information that’s been released about the company, that they’re losing money on some of their magazine properties, so I would imagine that would include these three,” said Reed Phillips, co-founder and managing partner of M&A and investment banking firm Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips. “I would imagine that they’ve also decided that they don’t really fit strategically with the other things they’re doing.”
That doesn’t mean those publications are on life support—far from it, Phillips said. Another publisher could easily strip the costs to make them more viable. Another publisher might decide to do away with Brides’ and Golf Digest’s print editions and turn them into digital-only properties, as Condé Nast did with Teen Vogue.
Condé Nast declined to comment, but CEO Bob Sauerberg acknowledged in an email to staffers last week the three titles “need an owner who will invest in them to realize their full potential.”
He also wrote that the company would have to diversify revenue with a 50-50 mix of advertising and non-advertising. The company will also look to expand video and diversify revenue streams with event series and other programs such as the Allure Beauty Boxes.
Sauerberg will speak to top-level staffers today to address the company’s strategy.
“If anything, this can free up more capital for them to focus on their core audience,” added Barry Lowenthal, CEO of The Media Kitchen.
Phillips said there are three main benefits new owners could get from taking on the Condé titles, including inheriting a strong brand, built-in relationships with advertisers and readers and the opportunity to make the titles more profitable, after reducing costs.