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Teen magazine YM to shut down

YM, an ailing magazine targeted at teens, announced Wednesday that it will shut down and its assets will be sold to publishing giant Conde Nast Publications.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Having abandoned an attempt to turn around the fortunes of YM, an ailing magazine targeted at teens, publisher Gruner + Jahr USA announced Wednesday that it would sell YM's assets to publishing giant Conde Nast Publications.

Rather than try to revive YM, which has been rapidly losing subscribers and advertising, Conde Nast instead plans to shutter magazine and use YM's list of subscribers to bolster its own rapidly growing teen title, Teen Vogue.

Conde Nast said in a statement that the December/January issue would be YM's last. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both companies are privately held.

The deal is part of an effort by G+J's CEO Russell Denson to reshape the publisher following the ouster earlier this year of Dan Brewster, who was fired following a court battle with talk show host Rosie O'Donnell over the failure of her self-titled magazine.

Denson joined G+J, a unit of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, in May from the Reiman Media Group, a highly profitable unit of Reader's Digest Association Inc. that publishes folksy magazines on rural life.

G+J had announced this May that it would cut YM's guaranteed circulation base to 1.5 million from 2 million, reduce its frequency to 11 times per year, and attempt to reposition the magazine in the hotly competitive market for teen magazines.

But Denson told staffers last month the company would explore a sale of YM instead in order to focus on the company's other titles, which include Child, Family Circle, Fast Company and Inc. In a note to employees on Wednesday, Denson said the sale would allow G+J to "focus our resources on our core magazines and markets."

The shutdown of YM will result in the layoff of about 60 staffers, according to a person familiar with the matter who didn't want to be named. That follows the layoff of 80 people last month at the publisher as part of a cost-cutting effort.

YM had been struggling to keep its place in the teen market, which has giants such at Teen People, Seventeen, and Elle Girl. In the year-to-date through August, YM has lost 42 percent of its ad pages, a key measure of health for a magazine, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.