'Maxim' Sold To Steak 'n Shake Owner

The fate of Maxim has been up in the air ever since a planned sale to the Darden Media Group went off the rails last year, but now a new buyer has stepped forward.

Biglari Holdings, which owns restaurant chains including Steak ‘n Shake, is acquiring Maxim from Alpha Media for an undisclosed amount. The magazine will remain under its current management.

"It's not clear whether, or how, Maxim might be strategically aligned with the company’s restaurant properties, but the company plans to invest in the brand. Biglari Holdings chairman and CEO Sardar Biglari stated: “Maxim's inclusion into our collection of companies will benefit from our financial strength. We plan to build the business on multiple dimensions, thereby energizing our readership and viewership.”

The abortive deal with Darden fell through after the latter failed to procure financing; the situation was further complicated by allegations of fraud leading to the arrest and prosecution of Calvin Darden Jr., the son of the chairman of Darden Media, earlier this month. The younger Darden allegedly impersonated his father to fraudulently solicit millions of dollars from investors to fund the Maxim acquisition.

Like other consumer magazines, Maxim has taken its lumps in recent years. According to the Publishers Information Bureau, the magazine's total ad pages fell 16.8% from 392 in 2012 to 323 in 2013. The latter figure is down 67.7% from 999 in 2005. Meanwhile, its paid circulation shrank from around 2.6 million in 2007 to two million in 2013.

Maxim's sister publications, shopping mag Stuff and music mag Blender, were shuttered in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

Tags: m&a, magazines, media
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