Dickey Family Is Bidding for Modern Luxury

We finally know who the mystery bidder is for Modern Luxury.

According to the New York Post, the Dickey Family, which controls Cumulus Media, is near a deal to buy the magazine publisher. Last week, peHUB reported that one of the two bidders for Modern Luxury was a radio owner with some publishing assets. We ruled out Jeffrey Smulyan of Emmis Communications. In truth, I was told it could be Cumulus but I didn’t have enough to go with.

Cumulus, of Atlanta, controls about 345 radio stations in 67 U.S. media markets. Lew Dickey Jr. is CEO of both Cumulus and Dickey Publishing, which also owns Jezebel Magazine and Atlanta Sports & Fitness Magazine. The family is expected to do the deal through Dickey Publishing, the NY Post says.

David Dickey, president of Dickey Broadcasting, declined to comment on the report. “We’ve been in the media business for a long time,” he says. “We’re very bullish on the space and look forward to continued opportunities to grow.”

The Dickey family has been interested in regional magazines for some time, says one banker who was surprised that the Dickey’s are bidding for Modern Luxury. The roughly $20 million pricetag isn’t too rich for the Dickey family. “But it’s a big undertaking based on the complexity of the deal,” the source says. Modern Luxury is in many market and they’re losing money, the source says. “The company needs fixing,” the banker says.

Modern Luxury has nearly 30 publications in 13 major markets including Angeleno, Manhattan and Interiors. Earlier this year, Michael Kong, the former CEO of Modern Luxury, was ousted after the magazine defaulted on $120 million in debt. Modern Luxury is currently being controlled by its lenders, GE Business Financial Services and NewStar Financial.

The other bidder is Greenspun Corp., which owns Modern Luxury’s arch rival Niche Media. Greenspun/Niche was widely expected to acquire Modern Luxury. No word yet on what Niche Media’s plans are.

Niche Media couldn’t be reached for comment.