Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Osprey swoops down and swallows Town

With all the kerfuffle about income trusts, very little of it has seemed to touch magazine publishing so far. But quietly, over the summer, a few quite good magazines were absorbed into the Osprey Media Income Trust, with its purchase of Town Media. Town's longtime President and Publisher, Wayne Narcisco, brought with him into the management fold the following titles: Hamilton Magazine, Biz,Visitors, Interiors, Ontario Golf, Golfstyle and Ontario Home Builder. Also absorbed were Town's trade show division, inclduing the Ontario Garden Show, Gourmet Food & Wine Show, Ontario Builders' Forum and a part interest in the Hamilton Better Living Home Show.

Because it hasn't worked in the spotlight in Toronto, Town has not known very much buzz since Narcisco founded it in 1978. He has steered the little ship through good times and bad and has now, apparently, cashed out (or is that in?)

Hamilton magazine has consistently been professional and quite handsome, a surprise to people who think of Hamilton (the city) as a pretty lunchbucket kind of place. But there is a lot of high end housing and a lot of wealth in the area and the magazine catered to it with a healthy dose of lifestyle/shelter and fashion as well as the usual citymag features and listings.

Since Osprey needs to keep on pumping out those payments every month (one of the attractions for investors in income trusts) the purchase must have been predicated on the maturity of the properties and their ability to contribute to those relentless payouts.

But, once again, a mid-rank magazine company is swallowed up by a bigger firm (last time it was Avid by Transcon), leaving a big hole where entrepreneurial, well-financed and innovative magazine publishing should be.


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