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Spin and Vibe Drum Up Bidders

Music mags Spin and Vibe have been quietly put on the market, giving leading suitor Quincy Jones some unwelcome competition, sources say.

The Daily Deal reported in August that Jones, the legendary record producer who founded Vibe in 1994, had teamed up with BayStar Capital Management in an unsolicited $100 million bid to buy both mags from Miller Publishing. But according to a source close to the deal, interest from competing groups prompted Bob Miller, the company’s CEO, to open up the sale to other bidders.

“There are a number of parties with strong interest in the properties,” said the source, adding with a chuckle, “I think both magazines will have a nice life after this.”

The package deal, which is being brokered by the Jordan, Edmiston Group, was the talk of last week’s American Magazine Conference in Puerto Rico, we hear. “It’s pretty well known in the industry at this point,” says the source. “The auction has been in progress for about six week now.”

Spin magazine, founded in 1985 by Bob Guccione, Jr., became part of Vibe/Spin Ventures LLC as the result of a $42 million sale in 1997. Vibe passed through the hands of a publishing consortium called Vibe Ventures in 1996 before ending up at Miller. Both magazines have seen advertising and readers erode in recent years thanks to a crippled record industry and strong competition from other upstart music mags, both in print and online.

“They want to unload both books while they still have some degree of heat attached to them,” says another source close to the deal. “It’s now or never.”

A representative for the Jordan, Edmiston Group declined to comment on the sale, and neither Miller nor Jones, who owns a minority stake in Vibe/Spin Ventures, returned calls. Sia Michel, the editor of Spin, and Mimi Valdez of Vibe could not be reached by press time.

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