Bertlesmann selling G+J USA

Bertlesmann selling G+J USA: I don’t typically blog magazine transactions or personnel stories. However, I’ll make an exception…

Quote from behind the cost-wall of the Wall Street Journal::

The Germany-based publisher of titles including Fast Company and Family Circle will as early as today announce it will sell its U.S. magazines, people familiar with the matter say. Gruner + Jahr’s U.S. operations are the sixth-biggest magazine publisher in the U.S. Details of the deal, including its price and whether the magazines are being acquired by one buyer or several buyers, couldn’t be learned.

The move, which comes after a series of recent setbacks, including an ugly court battle with Rosie O’Donnell and revelations that Gruner + Jahr executives manipulated circulation figures, amounts to a tacit admission that the company’s longstanding goal of conquering the U.S. has failed.

The sale follows an ultimatum last year by G+J parent Bertelsmann AG, which told the unit’s management they had a year to solve the problems in the U.S. or find a buyer. G+J publishes six main titles in the U.S. Kurt Otto, a spokesman for G+J in Germany, declined to comment.

Possible buyers of at least some of the magazines include Meredith Corp., the Iowa-based publishing and TV concern. Meredith owns magazines such as Ladies Home Journal and American Baby which would fit with G+J’s Family Circle, Child and Parents. It is unclear whether Meredith would want G+J’s business magazines, however, which could be sold to a separate buyer. Patrick Taylor, a spokesman for Meredith Corp., didn’t return calls. Possible acquirers for the business magazines include CurtCo Media, owner of Worth magazine. CurtCo, based in Malibu, Calif., declined to comment.

Update: Adage.com – Meredith purchases four G+J titles for $350 million, could purchase and flip the business titles, Inc. and Fast Company.