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Golf News: - Posted 15th October 1998

New York Times sues over golf magazine sale

Associated Press

New York
-The New York Times Co. has filed a lawsuit alleging that owners of a golfing magazine reneged on a deal to sell the company its assets after getting a better offer from the Times Mirror Co. of Los Angeles.

The Times said in court papers that it reached a binding agreement with Weider Publications Inc. on Sept. 29 to buy the assets of Senior Golfer magazine, with its subscriber list of at least 122,000, for $3.35 million.

Other assets in the deal included Senior Golfer's advertising records, works in progress, manuscripts, morgue, libraries, copyrights and trademarks. Closing on the purchase was to take place Oct. 9.

The Times Co. owns Golf Digest, which has 1.3 million readers and is the nation's largest selling golf magazine in circulation and newsstand sales, said Nancy Nielsen, the Times' vice president for corporate communications.

The Times' papers say adding Senior Golfer's subscriber list to that of Golf Digest's "would fortify plaintiff's present position as the leading publisher of golf-related magazines in the United States, a position that makes it extremely attractive to advertisers and the general public."

Weider's agent, Wilma H. Jordan of the Jordan Edmiston Group Inc., told the Times' negotiators that talks with other parties would be "shut down" once they had an agreement with the Times, court papers say.

The Times' papers, filed Tuesday in Manhattan's State Supreme Court, quoted Jordan, chief executive officer of Jordan Edmiston, as saying at the conclusion of negotiations with Weider, "We have a deal."

But on Oct. 9, the day the deal was to be closed, Jordan told the Times that Weider had decided "to sell Senior Golfer to another party which gave them a better offer than the one they had on the table from the Times," court papers said.

The court papers say the "better offer" came from Times Mirror and is about twice the amount the Times and Weider agreed on.

A spokeswoman at Weider Publications, Louisa Liss, said she was unaware of the Times' lawsuit, but "I know The Times Mirror bought the magazine and that's official as of Monday (Oct. 12)."

Liss said she believes Times Mirror, which also owns Golf magazine, intends to keep Senior Golfer separate because it is a profitable niche publication that is aimed primarily at golfers over 50.

Tracy Jones of Jordan Edmiston said Jordan had no comment on the lawsuit.

Joanne Chaseman, director of public relations for Times Mirror, said, "I'm aware of the issue, but I have no comment."