Disney To Sell Fairchild Unit
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it is selling its Fairchild Publications unit, whose magazines include W, Jane and Women’s Wear Daily, to Advance Publications, parent of Conde Nast.
The sale price was not disclosed, but previous reports put the value of the deal at about $650 million. The companies said they expect to close the sale by the end of the year.
The deal will not completely sever Disney’s relationship to some of Fairchild’s publications. Advance will allow Disney’s Buena Vista Internet Group to publish some material online from W, Jane and Women’s Wear Daily, the companies said.
Disney and Advance also agreed to look into a joint Internet site designed for women using material from both companies’ magazines, said Disney spokeswoman Christine Castro.
Conde Nast’s publications include Vogue, Glamour, Mademoiselle, GQ and The New Yorker. Its biggest acquisition in the Disney deal is W, a glossy consumer-fashion publication that has siphoned off apparel advertising from Conde Nast and rival Hearst Magazines.
The sale also includes about a dozen trade publications, such as Supermarket News and Home Furnishings News; a fashion textbook division; and Fairchild Urban Expositions, a trade-show business that Disney co-owns.
Disney acquired Fairchild in 1995 in its purchase of Capital Cities-ABC. In 1997, Disney had announced plans to sell Fairchild, but the company quickly changed its mind.
Two years ago, Disney sold other publications, including the Kansas City Star and Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the trade publisher Chilton.
With its earnings and stock price slumping, Disney has been trying to refocus on its core businesses, its movie studio and theme parks.
``Despite Fairchild’s strengths, Disney is focused on the long-term growth of our core brands and entertainment assets,″ said Michael Eisner, Disney chairman and chief executive officer.
Disney plans to keep Los Angeles magazine, a monthly city lifestyles publication.
S.I. Newhouse Jr., chairman of Advance, reportedly had been in a bidding war with Hearst to acquire Fairchild. The deal merges two of the fashion world’s most powerful publishers, potentially allowing Advance to offer advertisers package rates for buying space in several magazines at the same time.
``We are thrilled to acquire the Fairchild publications, since we have always had the highest respect for their journalistic quality and integrity,″ Newhouse said.