As a condition of that deal, G+J USA has until June 30 to find a buyer for Inc. and Fast Company. If G+J USA can't find a buyer, Meredith has agreed to acquire and promptly sell the titles through a private sale or auction that it believes will be immaterial to the total purchase price in Tuesday's deal.
Inc. generated $21.3 million in advertising from January through April, a 9.2% decrease from the $23.4 million it collected during the same period last year, according to statistics compiled by the Publishers Information Bureau. Inc.'s 226 ad pages through this year's first four months was 14.7% below the 265 ad pages it ran from January through April 2004.
Fast Company's production has been even worse. The magazine's $9.2 million in advertising recorded through April is 13.2% less than the $10.5 million it collected in the prior year. Its 141.3 ad pages are 17.2% below the 170.7 ad pages the title ran during last year's first four months.
My guess from this info is that FC could be picked up for less than $5 million. I think that would be a good deal because they have good writers and they are on the cutting edge of some stuff (I think they were the first major biz mag to start a blog) but they need to change their approach. (I think they missed some big ideas, and they may have alienated some readers with too many articles about social aspects of business) Plus, part of their ad and circulation woes stem from economic conditions, not lack of interest.
For a good analysis of where they went wrong, see what Todd wrote back in February.
I still think they have great brand recogntition. You could buy it and build on that. I predict that if they are bought and not merged into another magazine, we will see a resurgence of FC. My advice to whoever buys it – get back to writing articles that create a little cognitive dissonance.
UPDATE: Commenter Rex actually works in the publishing industry. Pop over and see what he has to say about FC.