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Vibe acquired by SpinMedia with plans to end magazine in favor of online version

(April 25, 2013) SpinMedia, which currently owns a host of music and entertainment websites, yesterday announced that it had bought the rights to Vibe magazine and its websites, and, for an undisclosed price. The move re-unites Vibe with Spin which, as magazines, were both owned by the same company more than a decade ago.

Steve Hansen, SpinMedia's CEO, said that Vibe would likely be discontinued as a print magazine later this year. When the company, then called Buzz Media, bought Spin about a year ago, it adopted the title to the company's name, shut down the magazine, fired a third of the staff and doubled the amount of traffic to its website.

"We are still trying to find a print model that makes economic sense in the digital age," Hansen told the New York Times. SpinMedia currently owns or represents more than 40 sites. Vibe has an average print circulation of more than 300,000 and 1.4 million monthly visitors to its websites, according to SpinMedia.

The acquisition of Vibe is just the latest of the many changes in ownership since the magazine was first launched in 1992 by Quincy Jones and Time Warner. Following a string of financial difficulties, Ron Burkle and Earvin "Magic" Johnson's Yucaipa Johnson Fund merged Vibe assets with InterMedia Partners. In addition to Vibe InterMedia also owned the assets of the television show, Soul Train.

Industry watchers wonder what will happen with the Soul Train property now that it has been acquired by a company with a digital media concentration and no other entities targeted exclusively to an African-American audience.

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