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Brill to Buy Inside Magazine, Web Site Owner

April 03, 2001|From Staff and Wire Reports

Expanding its coverage of the media industry, Brill Media Holdings, the magazine company founded by Steven Brill, agreed to buy Powerful Media Inc., owner of the Inside.com Web site and Inside magazine.

Terms weren't disclosed. The deal announced Monday appears to ensure the short-term survival of Inside.com, which has built impressive traffic over its nine months, even as it has struggled to sign up paying subscribers for expanded services. The company was expected to run out of money before the end of the year.

Powerful, which has raised $35 million from investors, will become a minority shareholder in Brill, publisher of media-watchdog magazine Brill's Content, the companies said. Magazine publisher Primedia Inc. will keep its 49% stake in closely held Brill.

The purchase gives Brill daily business coverage of media and entertainment from Inside.com, which will remain a separate Web site. News stories from Inside.com will be included on Media Central, Primedia's media information site that's run by Brill. Brill's Content magazine will be merged with Inside magazine into a publication called Inside Content, which will shift its focus from a consumer-oriented to a business audience.

Brill, the founder of CourTV, will continue to be the managing general partner and chief executive of Brill Media. Powerful co-founders Kurt Andersen and Michael Hirschorn signed two-year contracts and will become vice chairmen of Brill Media.

Inside's staff of 90 is expected to be cut by a third, though Brill would not elaborate on rumors of specific journalists who had not received assurance during Sunday telephone calls that their jobs were secure.

Brill said he would use Inside's journalists to improve the editorial quality of the company's other publications, which include Folio, Cable World and Kagan newsletters.

"We will be the ultimate purveyor of journalism and data across hundreds of sectors of the media business," Brill said.

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