In Depth

Maxim Magazine Sold to Restaurant Holding Company -- Biglari Holdings Bought the Troubled Men's Title

By Michael Sebastian
Advertising Age

Here's hoping this deal is real: Alpha Media Group has sold Maxim magazine to a subsidiary of Biglari Holdings, a holding company that specializes in owning restaurants such as Steak 'n Shake, the companies said Thursday.

Maxim's current management team will continue to run the magazine and it will remain headquartered in New York. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Calls to Maxim and Biglari on Friday were not returned by press time.

In a press release issued late Thursday, Sardar Biglari, chairman and CEO of Biglari Holdings, said his company will make long-term investments in the Maxim brand. "Maxim's inclusion into our collection of companies will benefit from our financial strength," he said. "We plan to build the business on multiple dimensions, thereby energizing our readership and viewership."

Maxim had a turbulent 2013, including a previous sale attempt that failed spectacularly. In September, Alpha Media announced that it had struck a deal to sell Maxim to an affiliate of Darden Media Group, which planned to distribute Maxim's content across TV, radio and music platforms. That deal fell through after the buyer failed to secure the money for the actual purchase.

It was later alleged that Calvin Darden Jr., son of Darden Media Group Chairman Calvin Darden Sr., had impersonated his father in an effort to defraud investors of millions to buy Maxim. U.S. prosecutors brought charges against Calvin Darden Jr. last month.

Print ad pages at Maxim fell 17% in 2013, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, a much sharper decline than the industry-wide decline of 4.1%. Its total paid and verified circulation fell 20% to just over 2 million last year, with single-copy sales declining 22%, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.