Greenspun Out of Modern Luxury Auction

It’s Tuesday and the sky is warning of rain so this update to the Modern Luxury Media auction will be short.

peHUB has previously reported that Greenspun Corp., which owns Niche Media, had been vying for the magazine publisher. We’ve now learned that a variety of bidders –which is believed to include the likes of Curtco Robb, Bonnier Corp., Greenspun as well as some VC firms — were out of the Modern Luxury auction a few weeks ago, one person says.

“Twenty million was a nosebleed price and too high for us,” the source says. “To get the value back would take forever.”

On Monday, the New York Post reported that the Dickey Family, which controls Cumulus Media, is near a deal to buy the magazine publisher. 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 and pay just north of $20 million, the NY Post says.

The Dickey Family is the only party interested in Modern Luxury right now, the source 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.

On Monday, Washington Post finally agreed to sell Newsweek to Sidney Harman, the man who made his fortune selling stereo equipment. It’s not clear what Harman is paying but press reports say he will pay $1 in exchange for absorbing Newsweek’s considerable financial liabilities.

If Modern Luxury did sell for $20 million, instead of the $10 million that was expected, this “would be a great thing for the publishing industry,” the source says.