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Leading art publications in the US join forces

ARTnews and Art in America merge in a deal that makes newsprint magnate Peter Brant the majority shareholder

ARTnews and Art in America, two of the largest and most widely read art magazines in the US, are merging. Artnews S.A.—which operates ARTnews as well as the Polish magazine Art & Business and the online art market research outlet Skate’s—has acquired Brant Publications’ entire art publishing portfolio, including Art in America, The Magazine Antiques and Modern Magazine.  

In exchange for the sale of its art magazines, Brant Publications, owned by the collector and newsprint magnate Peter Brant, has become the majority shareholder of Artnews S.A. with a more than 50% stake in the company, according to a spokeswoman. Brant Publications retains ownership of Interview magazine, the glossy founded by Andy Warhol.

Under the terms of the deal, which have not yet been approved by Artnews’s shareholders, Art in America will continue to produce 11 print issues a year, while ARTnews will no longer publish regular monthly editions. Instead, the publication will focus on the web and release sel ect special themed editions throughout the year, like its recent “Top 200 Collectors” issue.

The company plans to launch a bundled print subscription and consolidate the websites into a single digital platform. Antiques, which had been published six times per year, and Modern Magazine will both be published quarterly moving forward. No staff reductions are planned, according to a spokeswoman.

ARTnews has been undergoing rapid changes behind the scenes for the past year. Skate Capital, a private asset management firm owned by the Russian executive Sergey Skaterschikov, bought the magazine from its longtime owners Milton and Judith Esterow in April 2014. The following month, Artnews merged with the Polish art media company Abbey House Group S.A., which is listed on the Warsaw stock exchange.

Izabela Depczyk, Artnews' chief executive, will continue her role at the newly combined company. As part of the transaction, Skate Capital sold more than 6.4 million shares of ARTnews to Brant’s company for $3.4m, according to Reuters. In 2016, ARTnews plans to list its shares on the German stock exchange.

“Under one umbrella, the combined company will have some of the most important cultural publications that together provide the complete content and history of decorative arts, classical arts and art-related news,” Peter Brant says in a statement. “We also see Skate’s Art Market Research as an area that has a significant growth potential.”