Time Warner confirms sale of legal publisher

NEW YORK — Time Warner Inc. confirmed Friday the sale of its legal publishing business American Lawyer Media LP to an investment group led by Wasserstein Perella for a price believed to be close to $70 million.

Neither Time Warner nor the investment group, Cranberry Partners, would comment on the price. Cranberry is a $200 million investment fund managed by Wasserstein to buy businesses and American Lawyer is believed to be the first acquisition it has completed.

American Lawyer publishes the American Lawyer magazine as well as several regional legal newspapers and an Internet service for lawyers. It was founded by Steven Brill, who quit the company and sold his 20% stake in the group to Time Warner earlier this year.

Randall Weisenberg, a managing director at Wasserstein, said, “We plan to continue the strong editorial tradition started by Steven Brill and his team and intend to further expand the business through the development of complementary publications and services.” A spokesman for Wasserstein declined to comment on who would be brought in to replace Brill.

Brill was traveling, but said in a statement he was “delighted” with the sale to Cranberry, adding that Wasserstein principal Bruce Wasserstein “understands exactly what made the publications successful and he will provide the resources, independence and leadership necessary for our company to grow.”

A Vanity Fair article recently revealed memos from Brill detailing examples of attempted interference by TW execs seeking to suppress coverage in American Lawyer and its sister business Court TV that might have damaged the corporation financially.

Time Warner retains one-third of Court TV, which Brill also founded but had no equity in. Court TV is jointly owned by TW, NBC and Liberty Media.

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