New York, NY/Burbank, CA–Wenner Media and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) today announced that Wenner Media has acquired Disney’s 50 percent stake in Us Weekly LLC, which publishes Us Weekly, and now once again owns the magazine in its entirety.
Disney had invested in Us Weekly and formed the 50/50 Us Weekly LLC joint venture with Wenner Media in February 2001, advancing Us Weekly‘s transition to the weekly frequency. Under the joint venture, which was managed by Wenner Media, Us Weekly revamped its format, spearheading the evolution of the celebrity magazine genre, and doubled circulation from 850,000 to 1.75 million, making it one of the fastest growing titles in the publishing industry. During that same period, advertising pages also doubled.
For the first six months of this year, Us Weekly‘s circulation grew by 7%(from 1H 2005), with newsstand sales surpassing the 1 million mark for the first time. For the same period, ad pages grew by 4% to 912 pages.
The transaction is expected to close in the fall.
Wenner Media Chairman Jann Wenner said: ” Disney has been a superb partner and we will miss them. I am deeply grateful for their vote of confidence in Us at a time when not everyone thought we had much of a future or there was a future in celebrity magazines. “
Disney CEO and President Robert Iger said: “Jann Wenner and his team have been great partners over the course of our involvement with Us Weekly. They have managed this business extremely well and we wish them continued success.”
Launched as a bi-monthly publication in 1977, Us Weekly was acquired by Wenner Media in 1986. The magazine moved from a monthly to a weekly format in March 2000. Privately held Wenner Media also owns and publishes Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal.