Friday, June 30, 2006

Vibe to be Sold to BlackBook Parent Keith Glen Media

Stephanie D. Smith

JUNE 30, 2006 -

After more than a year on the block, urban music and fashion monthly Vibe is said to have found a buyer.

Sources familiar with the deal say Keith Glen Media, the parent company of progressive fashion and culture monthly BlackBook, is expected to take over Vibe magazine, women’s quarterly Vibe Vixen and Vibe’s Internet, television and mobile offerings. Keith Glen Media is led by CEO Eric Gertler and president Ari Horowitz.

The deal is expected to close today.

A spokesperson for BlackBook Media had no comment, but official announcement is expected to be made Wednesday. A spokesperson for Vibe was not familiar with the deal.

According to sources, Vibe President Kenard Gibbs and editor in chief Mimi Valdes will likely leave the company. Additionally, layoffs, primarily on the editorial side, are also expected.

The strategy behind the acquisition is to “step up” the Vibe brand, according to a source familiar with the deal. The deal would marry Black Book’s fashion forward approach with Vibe’s urban music and culture content and provide significant investment to grow Vibe’s global and online properties.

While Vibe has successfully grown its brand across multiple media platforms, paid circulation fell 2.8 percent to 836,611 through the second half of 2005, missing its 850,000 rate base, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Newsstand sales grew 8.1 percent. Ad pages through July, pages fell 8.2 percent to 624, reports the Mediaweek Monitor.