Commentary

Bonnier's Sale Of 7 Magazines Hastens Their Digital Evolution

Bonnier Corp. this week agreed to sell seven of its U.S. magazine titles, including Field & Stream, Popular Science and Saveur, to a digital media venture equity firm. The deal promises to hasten the transformation of Bonnier's titles into digital media outlets that can reach a younger audience for enthusiast content, and increase revenue as the digital ad market recovers with the broader economy.

North Equity LLC, which is based in Miami, plans to add Bonnier's titles to its growing stable of digital properties, according to an announcement. Bonnier and North Equity didn't disclosed the terms of the sale agreement, which includes the magazines Popular Photography, Outdoor Life, Better You and Interesting Things.

North Equity has become more aggressive about building out its collection of media brands. A day before announcing the deal with Bonnier, the firm's Brookline Media unit acquired military news website Task & Purpose for an undisclosed sum. North Equity's digital media properties also include automotive sites The Drive and Car Bible, gadget review site Kitchenistic, military news site The War Zone and BobVila.com, named for the home-improvement guru.

While North Equity is expanding its brands, Bonnier's parent company is selling its magazine titles in groups as part of a withdrawal from U.S. media markets. Bonnier AG, the Swedish publishing giant founded in 1804, had planned to divest from those holdings even before the effects of the pandemic were broadly felt.

Bonnier last month sold seven motorcycle titles to fintech startup Octane, and plans to unload Cruising World and Sport Fishing by the end of the year. Bonnier will continue to run Bonnier Events and its diversity consulting business Working Mother Media, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

With North Equity's backing, Bonnier's former titles are likely to face cost-savings measures and other efforts to boost efficiency, perhaps by combining its back-end digital operations. But enthusiast titles are well suited for growth in ancillary businesses like ecommerce, which is booming, and live events, which are due for a comeback.

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