Goldman Sachs Poised to Muscle-In on Magazine Market

19 February 2002

Forget the adspend downturn; sucks to stagnant circulations and staff layoffs. Wall Street knows where the multimillion dollar rainbow ends. Magazine publishing, that’s where!

Should any doubt it, investment bank Goldman Sachs has reportedly set aside over $1 billion to prove them wrong – with the likelihood of quadrupling this sum by dangling the golden prospects under the noses of other banks and debt players.

Although Goldman’s lips are zipped about its publishing plans, moles and other insiders are less taciturn. According to ‘executives familiar with the situation’, the bank’s trigger money could be leveraged into $4bn with the participation of other banks and investors.

They also report that Goldman is trawling the higher echelons of the magazine industry (via recruitment consultancy Seiden Krieger Associates) to find a senior executive to run the new specialist investment unit. He or she will be briefed to focus on specialty consumer and business-to-business titles.

The contents of Goldman’s wish list are unknown but rumor is that it features the names of many of the medium-to-large privately held and family controlled businesses that have survived the consolidation mania of the past twenty years. An exception to this profile – but said to be high on Goldman’s list – is Primedia, the publicly traded company now controlled by investment banking rival Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, who declined to comment on the matter.

Opined one anonymous executive who has enjoyed a cosy chat with Goldman: “They want to get someone in place and build the infrastructure by the summer. The money is the most important thing. They have that already.”

“This is all a roll of the dice,” said another “There’s a lot of good reasons it should happen. But a lot of it is extremely complicated.”

Goldman already has its finger in the media pie as a major investor in Village Voice Media. It is also rumored to have been a contender to acquire the UK’s largest magazine publisher IPC Magazines which last year sold out for $1.6 billion to AOL Time Warner.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK) and; additional content by WARC staff