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Memo Pad: There's An App For That... Vibe Returns?...

Seventeen and its parent, Hearst Magazines, are joining the iPhone app rush.



BACK FROM THE DEAD?: Music magazine Vibe appears to have been resuscitated. On Tuesday, Uptown Media and its backers, InterMedia Partners, were close to a deal to buy Vibe and relaunch the urban music title, which folded in June. The impending deal was first reported by Advertising Age and The Wall Street Journal and later confirmed by InterMedia, although it declined further comment. According to the Journal report, InterMedia plans to publish the title as a quarterly and reload the Web site, which could go live in a few weeks. Vibe would fit into InterMedia’s portfolio of media holdings, which include not only Uptown, a lifestyle magazine for the African-American elite, but music program “Soul Train.” And one of the group’s principals has deep roots at Vibe — Uptown’s founder and group publisher Len Burnett was one of the founders of the magazine. In 2006, Wicks Group purchased Vibe for a reported $35 million, and Burnett served as group publisher. Even then, according to former Vibe insiders, Burnett expressed an intent to buy Vibe. (Burnett did not return calls for comment by press time). In 2007, Burnett left Vibe to rejoin Uptown.

Vibe folded this summer after suffering from a loss of advertising revenue and operational mismanagement under Wicks Group. Though financial details have not been revealed, Vibe is saddled with debt, a large chunk of that from its subscriber file of more than 600,000. CapitalSource, which reportedly provided the financing to Wicks Group, had no comment on the deal, and Wicks Group could not be reached for comment by press time. — Stephanie D. Smith

 

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