Shedding Seventeen, Primedia trims losses

Despite sale, quarterly revs dropped 3.4% to $375.8 mil

A trimmer Primedia published a narrower first-quarter loss Thursday after shedding assets, including teen magazine Seventeen, which was sold to Hearst for $182 million last week.

The media conglom, which owns a range of consumer and trade magazines, as well as the Channel One Network and more than 1,000 Web sites, reported a first-quarter net loss of $20.2 million. In the year-ago quarter, the company lost $506.5 million, which included a charge for accounting changes. Revenue for the quarter dipped 3.4% to $375.8 million on weakness among the company’s trade publications.

Speculation is circulating regarding what asset will be next on the block. Many industryites point to New York, the popular Gotham title.

Primedia also said that interim CEO Charles McCurdy is a “strong candidate” to take the position permanently. McCurdy replaced Tom Rogers, who resigned last month under pressure from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Primedia’s major shareholder. However, the board said it would be looking at outside candidates as well.

Since the summer of 2001, and including the sale of Seventeen, the company has generated about $530 million from shed assets.

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