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Condé Nast Sells Fairchild Media to Penske Media Corp.

Image: WWD.com

Image: WWD.com

There seems to be a lot of shakeups going on at Condé Nast this year. Just recently, the publisher announced that it was spinning off Lucky magazine to create The Lucky Group, a new editorial/e-commerce venture in partnership with BeachMint. But bigger news came in late yesterday afternoon, as Condé Nast announced it was cutting Fairchild Fashion Media from the roster — the company that owns trade publications Women’s Wear Daily, Footwear News, Beauty Inc and M magazine — and selling it to the Penske Media Corp. 

PMC is reportedly purchasing Fairchild for about $100 million, which is $500 million less than Advance Publications, Inc., the parent company of Condé Nast, paid for the publication back in 1999. PMC currently owns Variety, Hollywood’s trade publication, as well as Hollywood Life, Deadline and more. 

WWD is arguably one of the most important publications in the fashion industry. The fact that it has been so devalued over the past 15 years is reflective of the changing media landscape. Fashion blogs and websites consistently look to WWD for industry news — it’s the publication many designers and retailers go to in order to break major developments. WWD has a pretty pricey (depending on who you ask) subscription rate, and if readers can just go to, say, theFashionSpot to learn that Olivier Theyskens is stepping down from Theory for free instead of having to shill out $100 bucks a year to get the information at 12:00 a.m. (around the time WWD publishes its daily editions) every morning, it’s easy to see why it has become devalued over time. Condé’s holding firm to Fairchild’s Style.com and NowManifest, which is quite telling as both are digital destinations.  

Fairchild staff will move to one of Penske’s corporate buildings in New York in early 2015. Jay Penske, PMC chairman and CEO, seems jazzed about the acquisition. He already has his paws on Variety, so it seems he’s trying to build his company into some sort of industry trade juggernaut: “We believe there is great opportunity for each of the brands to thrive in our organization. PMC looks forward to setting the stage with you for the next 100 years of Fairchild success, for what is sure to be an exciting new era for WWD, M, Beauty Inc, Footwear News and the Fairchild Summits and events business.” 

[WSJ, WWD]

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