These are transitional times for old school U.S. magazines.
Us Weekly, the other magazine owned by Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner, will be acquired by David Pecker's American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer and Star Magazine, the companies announced on Wednesday. Reports put the price tag at $100 million.
American Media re-emerged as the buyer of the general interest magazine after earlier reports had Us Weekly being purchased by Tronc (TRNC) , owner of the Los Angeles Times and other major newspapers, which changed its name in June from Tribune Publishing. American Media was said to have been close to buying the magazine last month before those talks collapsed.
Temporarily, as it turns out.
The sale of Us Weekly comes as Time (TIME) , owner of People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, among more than 100 brands, is also on the block. Meredith, the owner of 17 local TV stations and titles such as Better Homes & Gardens, is among the front-runners to acquire a publisher that was established in 1922.
Wenner Media's decision to sell Us Weekly follows the company's sale in September of a 49% stake in Rolling Stone magazine to BandLab Technologies Ltd., a closely held Singapore-based social music company. Rolling Stone was created in 1967, and Us Weekly followed in 1977.
Magazine publishers are looking to diversify their businesses to rely less on print advertising and circulation sales which have been declining for more than a decade. Meredith, which was close to acquiring parts of Time Inc. in 2013, is said to prefer to buy only titles -- InStyle, Cooking Light and Real Simple, for instance -- that fit into their focus on women.
Us Weekly, meanwhile, has had its own problems, struggling with declining newsstand sales. The magazine will be folded into a company widely viewed as low-brow with an owner who enthusiastically supported Donald Trump's candidacy. For Us Weekly employees, there is sure to be culture shock moving from the liberal-minded Wenner to Pecker's American Media.
Tronc was expected to pay $85 million to $95 million for the magazine. American Media previously was expected to pay about $90 million for Us Weekly, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.
Methuselah Advisors' John Chachas and Howard Ellin of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom advised Wenner Media. Cole Schotz was legal counsel to American Media.