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Black Buying Power:
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Vibe magazine purchased by Uptown Media and InterMedia Partners; re-launch set

(August 12, 2009) Just six weeks after it closed its doors, Vibe magazine is being brought back to life. The publication, its Web site and other assets have been purchased from CapitalSource Bank by Uptown Media and InterMedia Partners for an undisclosed sum. Len Burnett (above), Uptown's Co-CEO and Publisher, told Target Market News that the deal has been finalized, the Web site will be re-instated within days, and the magazine will appear again by the end of the year.

Burnett said that the deal was made possible by restructuring the investment made by InterMedia nearly two years ago that enabled Uptown to expand its operations. The lifestyle magazine targeted to affluent African-Americans is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary.

The Wicks Group, a private-equity firm, purchased Vibe in 2006 for reportedly $35 million, only to close it this past June when it was unable to secure financing or restructure its debt. CapitalSource Bank foreclosed on the publication's assets.

"We had started talking to the CapitalSource even prior to the closing," said Burnett. The operations will be overseen by Burnett and his Uptown partner Brett Wright, Co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer; Robert Miller, a member of the original team; and and Blackrock Digital Partners Chris Smith and Parker McNaughton. "We'll have a rate base of 300,000 and will publish quarterly the first year," said Burnett.

Robert Miller and Leonard Burnett; Uptown Magazine Co-Founder Brett Wright

That circulation and frequency would closely match Uptown's, and Burnett said the two publications will have synergies such as in staff and administrative needs. "This will create a stronger positioning for the company, by offering advertisers young adults and affluent African-Americans. These are the two most active segments of the consumer market."

Burnett sees some changes in Vibe's editorial focus. "We'll go back to its roots of covering urban culture," he said. "It had gotten a little narrow in its focus on hip-hop. We're going to cover that and R&B and other music forms, as well as fashion and entertainment."

The return to Vibe's helm has to be something of a sweet victory for Burnett. He was one of the original founders of the magazine in 1993 and served as Vice President and Group Publisher until he resigned in October of 2007. Burnett said of this newest twist of fate, "It's good to come back. Obviously Vibe has always been very near and dear to my heart."

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Target Market News
Congratulates the
Recipients of the 2009

Advertising Executive
of the Year

FUSE Advertising

Media Executive 
of the Year
President. Broadcast
Media Sales

Marketing Executive
of the Year
Multicultural Marketing Manager
Ford Motor Co.

Research Executive
of the Year
Executive Vice Pres.,
Director of Cultural Identities
Starcom Mediavest  Group

Public Relations Executive
of the Year

President / CEO

Lifetime Achievement Award

TV One