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K-III Bid Wins Murdoch Mags

K-III Holdings, a partnership controlled by buyout firm Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts, put in a winning bid of over $600 million for nine magazines owned by Rupert Murdoch last week. Included in the deal are Automobile, European Travel & Life, New Woman, New York, Premiere, The Racing Form, Seventeen, Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly.

A source at one of the publications said a deal was struck April 25, but that a contract had not been signed. Spokesmen at Kohlberg, Kravis and Murdoch’s News Corp. would not comment.

Murdoch, who built his U.S. magazine group during the 1980s, agreed to sell the assets to reduce his $8.2 billion debt. Not included in the package are Mirabella and TV Guide. The magazine group was put on the block in March.

Formed in 1989, K-III Holdings has acquired Ward’s Communications, Field Publications and Funk & Wagnalls in the past year. Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts recently was involved in the purchase of the Bank of New England.

VARIETY’S parent company, Reed Intl., also bid for the publications.

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