Things are literally shaping up at Meredith Corporation, even as the health of fitness magazines remains in question. The magazine giant behind women-aimed titles such as Ladies’ Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens is acquiring Shape magazine from American Media Inc., the company announced Wednesday.
Meredith said it will cease publishing the print version of Fitness magazine, a title it has owned for a decade. The websites of both titles will continue to operate separately, but current readers of Fitness will begin receiving the new Shape magazine in May.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed. As part of the deal, Meredith will also buy the digital assets of Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health. A Meredith spokesman told International Business Times the company has no plans to continue the print versions of those magazines but will incorporate some elements of them into other titles.
Meredith said the rate base of the new Shape magazine will increase 60 percent to 2.5 million, while the shape.com and fitnessmagazine.com websites have a combined audience of 7 million unique monthly viewers.
Tom Harty, president of Meredith’s National Media Group, said Wednesday the deal will help the company reach a larger swath of the young female demographic. “It increases our reach among millennial women to over 23 million, creating an unmatched opportunity for advertisers to connect with this highly valued audience across multiple media channels,” Harty said in a statement.
In 2012, Pew Research ranked Meredith as the fourth largest magazine company in the country, with a combined circulation of 27.7 million. The company has been aggressively acquiring women’s, parenting and fitness brands over the last few years, including Eating Well, Family Fun and Every Day With Rachael Ray. In 2013, the company was in talks to purchase key titles from Time Inc., but those discussions broke down. Time ultimately spun off from its corporate parent, Time Warner Inc., and became a separate, publicly traded company.
Meredith reported second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, beating analysts’ estimates with profit of 87 cents per share and revenue of $398.9 million.