Commentary

'The Advocate,' 'Out' Are Sold To 'High Times' Owner

A new niche publishing empire is forming as Oreva Capital, fresh from the acquisition of marijuana enthusiast title High Times, snaps up more special-interest publications. This time, it ventured into the LGBT category, with the purchase of Here Publishing, owner of iconic gay magazines The Advocate and Out.


Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Oreva teamed up with Here’s management to organize the buyout of the company. Previous leadership, including SVP and editorial director Lucas Grindley, will remain in place after the acquisition.

In addition to the flagship titles, the deal covers Here’s other properties, including Pride, Plus, Out Traveler and LGBT.com. As part of the deal, Here will rebrand as Pride Media Inc.

Oreva also plans to expand the LGBT publications’ digital publishing and events businesses, according to Oreva boss Adam Levin. He told Reuters: “We are looking for brands that have strong emotional ties with a community. We think there is a unique opportunity in niche media brands that are undervalued and have further ways to monetize the intellectual property.”

Ideally, Oreva hopes to boost events-related revenues to around one-quarter of the publisher’s total take, several times the current contribution of 5% of the bottom line.

On the publishing side, Oreva will work to up Pride’s total digital audience from its current total of 12 million (spanning Web sites, digital and tablet editions and social media followings) to between 15 million and 18 million.

The new owner also plans to leverage management and publishing expertise from Pride Media Inc. to modernize High Times’ media properties, while using High Times’ expertise in events — including its world-straddling Cannabis Cup — to build Pride’s events business. 

Oreva is planning to take High Times public through a sale to a specially created public shell company, Origo, before the end of the year. The deal is expected to close sometime in October.

High Times moved to Los Angeles after abandoning its longtime headquarters in New York in January. The magazine has had some rocky leadership developments, including a wrongful termination suit from Dave Kohl, who served as CEO for around a year before being fired, allegedly for demanding a more “professional” environment at the magazine’s offices.

The pub was original founded in 1974 by Thomas King Forçade, allegedly with the profits from his own marijuana-smuggling operation, to advocate for the legalization of marijuana.

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