'Wired' mag geared towards digerati to join Conde Nast

PALO ALTO (Reuters) — Wired Ventures said Friday it will sell Wired magazine so it can remodel its business — and hopefully its balance sheet — along the lines of some of the Internet success stories it has chronicled in its pages.

The San Francisco company is selling the monthly Wired print publication to Advance Magazine Publishers, owner of New York magazine giant Conde Nast, whose publications include Vogue and Vanity Fair.

After the sale, Wired Ventures will be left with a group of online publications, including HotWired and Wired News, and the HotBot search engine, a combination that could finally make it a winner on Wall Street.

Wired Ventures president Beth Vanderslice said the company “believes we’ll maximize shareholder value through this transaction,” but declined to comment on whether it might try again to go public. Two planned initial public offerings in the past were abandoned due to lack of investor interest.

But others close to the company said they believed three could be a charm now that Wired Ventures is a pure Internet play.

Wired Ventures did not disclose the price for which it sold Wired magazine, but said it will use proceeds to pay off short-term debt and fund its online businesses. It said the online businesses are due to become profitable by the fourth quarter of this year, and are already among the 16 most visited sites on the Internet.

Wired, the self-described magazine for the “digerati,” has a circulation of about 400,000 and has been profitable for the past five quarters.

Wired magazine, which will continue to be published out of San Francisco, said it foresaw no big changes in its editorial format.

“We have long admired Wired for its innovative approach to publishing and its strong editorial voice,” Advance chairman S.I. Newhouse said in a statement. “We look forward to working with existing management to grow the magazine further.”

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