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magazine purchased by Uptown Media and InterMedia Partners; re-launch
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
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
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