Commentary

Arena Group's Acquisition Of 'Parade' Solidifies Strategy Of Clustering Around Vertical Markets

Correction:This story has been updated to reflect the title's correct frequency: Parade publishes weekly, not monthly. It also notes the brand is BPA audited. In addition, Parade's website published an inaccurate number for Parade's circulation, and that has been updated: It is 16 million, not 22 million, as originally reported. 

The Arena Group, publisher of Sports Illustrated and 13 digital-media brands, including TheStreet.com, announced Wednesday it is acquiring Parade Magazine, the venerable-but-faded staple of Sunday newspapers for decades.

Parade comes as part of a deal to acquire AMG/Parade, the Nashville, Tennessee-based media company formerly known as Athlon Media Group. AMG/Athlon publishes the food magazine Relish and the health-fitness title Spry Living. A third magazine, Dash, shuttered in 2018.

The deal, in which Arena is paying $16 million for 100% of the company, remains subject to due diligence and is expected to be completed in the first quarter.

The acquisition of AMG/Parade is part of an evolving strategy Arena unveiled in September, organizing the company into pronounced verticals.

“AMG/Parade’s properties bring massive reach across print, digital and video that will be the cornerstone of The Arena Group’s new lifestyle vertical and further bolster our sports offerings,” Ross Levinsohn, CEO of The Arena Group, said. “Parade has been an iconic media brand for 80 years — I read it as a kid in my Sunday paper and always anticipated the annual Parade High School All-American Teams.”

According to Parade’s website, it has a circulation of 16 million and is distributed in more than 700 newspapers.

Arena Group has 14 media brands — plus it provides a proprietary publishing platform to more than 300 independent niche publishers. It said it expects to report more than $180 million in revenue for 2021, representing 41% growth, with a gross profit margin for the trailing 12 quarters ending in September of 35%, up from 12%.

Arena Group is publicly traded as an over-the-counter stock, meaning it’s not listed on any of the large exchanges. It was trading at 64 cents Thursday afternoon.

In its statement, Arena said the acquisition of AMG/Parade Media Group will jump-start the new lifestyle vertical and simultaneously add to the company’s sports vertical — Sports Illustrated Media Group — which the company said entered Comscore’s top five of all sports properties and reached more than 64.4 million unique visitors.

Parade is published weekly and Sports Illustrated is published monthly.

2 comments about "Arena Group's Acquisition Of 'Parade' Solidifies Strategy Of Clustering Around Vertical Markets".
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  1. Steven Cohn from Ex-Media Industry Newsletter, January 21, 2022 at 6:59 p.m.

    Tony: Good story. Unlike SI, Parade continues to publish weekly (except for major holiday weekends). I would not be surprised if Arena Group reduces the frequency.  Parade's print edition has always had a lengthy lead time for newspaper distribution, and that resulted in the January 16 "Happy 100th Birthday" salute to Betty White having no acknowledgment of her December 31 passing. (It was posted on Patade.com.). Incidentally, AMG purchased Parade about a decade ago from Advance Publications, but Parade was never part of Donde Nast.

  2. Steven Cohn from Ex-Media Industry Newsletter, January 21, 2022 at 7:02 p.m.

    Correction: Conde Nast

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