L.A. Style, a trendy monthly magazine about the city's culture, life style and fashion, was sold Tuesday to American Express Publishing Co. for an undisclosed cash price.
The sale was completed by L.A. Weekly, owner of the Hollywood publication, and Thomas O. Ryder, president of the publishing unit of American Express, which also produces Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine and New York Woman magazines.
"We needed to hook up with somebody who had the resources to push the magazine up to the next level," explained Joie Davidow, founder, chairman and president of L.A. Style. "The major thrust now is to double circulation. That is where American Express Publishing will be good for us."
L.A. Style, launched in June, 1985, has been a success, magazine officials said. "It is almost in the black," according to Davidow, who will continue with L.A. Style as editor-in-chief and executive publisher and said there will be no changes in the magazine's staff of 32. She is also a co-founder of L.A. Weekly, a tabloid based in Silver Lake.
Advertising in L.A. Style grew 100% to 850 pages in its second year, and pages are currently running 50% above a year ago, Davidow said. Circulation, she said, has been holding at about 50,000 a month for the last year. "We haven't done a subscription campaign to get bigger," because the magazine couldn't afford it.
L.A. Style, 70% of whose sales are off newsstands and the rest from subscriptions, is sold primarily in Southern California. It is also available in New York, Chicago, and other U.S. cities, Canada, Europe, Asia and Central and South America.
Ryder said in an interview the median age of the L.A. Style reader is 35 with an average household income of $111,000 and an average home value of $390,000. "So the audience for this magazine is very much pitched to the upscale consumer. That is precisely the market American Express made its business in."
American Express publications are marketed separately from its travel and credit card business. But the cardholder list provides a natural base to sell L.A. Style. Ryder said Los Angeles is the second-biggest market, after New York, for American Express cards and expenditures. He said American Express will invest "several million dollars" to boost L.A. Style.
In addition, the magazine can benefit from ad packages that American Express Publishing offers to its advertisers who buy in more than one of its magazines.