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Maxim, Stuff, Blender up for sale

Dennis lad mags on the block

Lad-mag impresario Felix Dennis is putting his empire of racy titles — Maxim, Stuff and Blender — on the block in another sign of the difficult climate for the magazine biz.

Long rumored to be up for sale, Dennis Publishing made it public Thursday, announcing that it had retained Allen & Co. as an adviser to explore strategic alternatives for the company, including a possible sale.

Dennis pioneered the lad-magazine craze that began in the mid-’90s in the U.K. and successfully exported it to the U.S., hastening the decline of Playboy and Penthouse magazines.

Maxim and Stuff, with their focus on gadgets, gear and scantily clad women, still have considerable circulation (2.5 million and 1.3 million, respectively) but are in decline. Paid circulation for Blender, its newest and, at 800,000 circulation, its smallest magazine, grew 7.5% in the second half of 2006.

Company is leveraging the power of the Maxim brand by feverishly attaching it to everything from hair-care products to clubs and furniture, and it has even partnered with a developer to build a casino in Las Vegas.

Maxim has a TV and film division based in L.A. Its “Maxim Hot 100” VH1 TV special aired in 2004.

Dennis also owns “The Week,” a digest of the week’s news.

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