Bonnier snags five HFMUS titles

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Bonnier Corp. completed its acquisition of five Hachette Filipacchi Media US (HFMUS) brands on Monday, June 1.

The five acquired brands — Popular Photography, Flying, Boating, Sound and Vision and American Photo — fit snugly with Bonnier's existing catalog of special interest titles, which includes Scuba Diving, Field and Stream and Saveur. All five have print magazines, but they also encompass Web sites, books, licensing agreements, videos and branded events. Popular Photography claimed a total paid and verified circulation of 359,404 as of December 2008; Flying, 201,866; Boating, 196,559; Sound and Vision, 197,980; and American Photo, 179,815.

“We've always been committed to expanding the brands that we have and that serve a passionate audience, and these are all special interest brands that fit well within what we want to do to grow our company,” said Dean Turcol, VP of corporate communications for Bonnier. “Another important part is these are not just magazines, these are brands, and as the whole industry knows it's not just about print anymore — it's Web and events, and there are whole multimedia opportunities within these brands.”

Bonnier has been steadily building its “enthusiast brand” lineup with acquisitions, even in the down market, buying Working Mother in September 2008 and Scuba Diving in December. Adding more titles to its special interest publishing groups should allow for extensive cross-selling and give Bonnier the opportunity to offer expanded ad-buy packages. Boating, for instance will be sold with the Yachting and MotorBoating group, and Popular Photography and Sound and Vision will be bundled with the Popular Science group.

Turcol added that Bonnier plans to continue making acquisitions — particularly in the multimedia space — if the opportunity and the proper brand arises.

“We are very interested in acquiring multimedia assets that enhance the value and reach or our core brands,” he said. “We are moving into that more multimedia atmosphere with what we do. We have more than 70 Web sites and multiple events, so we are a multimedia company, not a publishing company.” 

Some staff changes at the acquired magazines have been planned, but will not be announced for a few days, said Turcol. Boating will be the only new title to move offices, joining Bonnier's other marine titles at the company's Winter Park, FL location.

As for HFMUS' plans, Alain Lemarchand, president and CEO of HFMUS, said in a statement, “HFMUS is focusing on our core areas of strength, including the women's brands, the shelter category and our automotive category which also includes Cycle World.”

DeSilva & Phillips represented HFMUS in the deal. The price was not disclosed.

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