Maxim’s Owners Explore Sale of Magazine
Maxim magazine, known for bawdy female swimsuit photos and off-color jokes, is for sale.
Alpha Media, Maxim’s parent company which is owned by a group of financial investors, said Friday it was exploring a sale of the male-oriented magazine. The move comes as Maxim has been trying to reinvent itself as a multimedia outlet after years of declines in ad pages.
“Now is the optimal time to entertain strategic relationships and offers,” Alpha Media said in a statement. Alpha Media has hired Houlihan Lokey, a boutique investment bank, to advise on the sales process, said Maxim’s president, Ben Madden.
Maxim is one of the best-known magazines catering to young men. For the second half of 2012, it had a total paid and verified circulation of 2.54 million copies, a 1.4% increase from the year earlier period, ranking it as the country’s 17th largest magazine, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.
The group of financial investors has owned Maxim since 2009, taking control from Quadrangle Capital Partners. At that time the financial crisis had sent the magazine industry into a sharp downturn that hurt Maxim’s ad sales and Alpha’s profits.
Since then, Maxim’s ad pages have continued falling, dropping 22% in 2012, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Last year’s ad page total was less than half the 2008 total, PIB data shows.
Mr. Madden pointed to the evolving viewing habits of its target audience, males ages 18-34, in explaining the drop off in ad pages. “That’s why we have made such a hard push into video and other platforms,” such as events, he said.
He said Maxim’s owners felt no pressure to sell the publication if they only receive low offers. “If the value isn’t there, they’re going to continue to hold on to it given the progress the brand has made over the last couple of years.”
The sale plans come amid a broader realignment of the magazine industry, which has seen newsstand sales decline and advertising slump in recent years.
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