Billionaire businessman Joe Mansueto, the founder of mutual fund researcher Morningstar, has reached a definitive deal with German media giant Bertelsmann to buy business magazines Inc. and Fast Company, according to a report in Sunday's New York Post.
The deal, closed Friday night and believed to be worth $35 million, marks the end of Bertelsmann's presence in the U.S. magazine market, where its Gruner+Jahr USA division failed to make a meaningful impact despite investments of more than $1 billion over several decades, the Post said.
"I look at them as powerful brands with strong management," Mansueto told the Post in an interview. "They are two of the premiere business titles [in] the U.S., and I want to make them stronger."
The news comes on the heels of Gruner +Jahr USA's decision to sell its four women's magazines - Family Circle, Parents, Fitness and Child. The acquisition saves Fast Company, a title many expected to disappear when Bertelsmann initiated its retreat from the U.S. market, the Post said.
The magazine, which at its peak was raking in tens of millions of dollars each year, had seen much of its advertising erode with the collapse of the dot-com market. In fact, it lost up to $5 million a year, the newspaper said. Given that scenario, industry observers were writing off Fast Company on the assumption that a new owner would only want to keep Inc. alive, since it was still profitable.
The five other finalists in the bidding war for the two publications, Time Inc., The Economist, the Newhouse family's American City Business Journals, and two Boston-based venture firms, Abry Partners and Alta Communications, were all expected to fold Fast Company.
Mansueto told the Post he plans to keep management in place and remain hands-off, fashioning himself a "Warren Buffet-style owner."
The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.