Hispanic Publishing Corporation, one of the few large, independently owned US-Hispanic publishing houses, has undergone significant changes. In a deal that closed at the end of February, a group of investors led by publisher Sam Verdeja bought Hispanic Publishing Group from prior owner Fred Estrada. Hispanic Publishing Group publishes the 16-year old English language business/ politics/ career & Culture monthly Hispanic Magazine (circulation 270,000), the business quarterly Hispanic Trends (circulation 50,000) launched in October last year (page 3, Portadatm No. 1, January/February 2003), and the website Hispanic Online.
Apart from the independent publishers of Latina and Hispanic Business, Hispanic Publishing Group is the only large US Hispanic magazine publisher not owned by an international publishing behemoth such as Readers Digest, Conde Nast, Time Inc., Gruner + Jahr or Televisa. “We are looking at ways to make the company grow by launching new titles and/or acquiring existing ones,” said Sam Verdeja, Hispanic Publishing Group's investor and publisher. Verdeja would not disclose plans for new acquisitions or launches. Asked why he did not want to buy Vista Magazine, Verdeja noted that he had been running Hispanic Magazine, Hispanic Trends and Hispanic Online for the past few years. This had not been the case with Vista>
Verdeja did not tell Portadatm how much he and his co-investors (South Florida developer Armando Codina, former El Nuevo Herald publisher Robert Suarez and car dealer Lombardo Perez) paid for the publications. Industry sources estimate that the value of the transaction was in the “high seven figures,” which would put the valuation/sales multiple at a figure between 1.5 and 2 times sales. According to Media Economics Group, Hispanic Magazine had sales of close to US $5.3 million last year. Hispanic Trends sold 20 pages of advertising (rate card US $5,300) in its first issue. Hispanic Online is positioned both as a stand-alone product and as an advertising sales package sold along with Hispanic Magazine and Hispanic Trends, and with events organized by Hispanic Publishing Group.
American Media is also interested in expanding its presence in the US Hispanic print media market (page 1, Portadatm No. 2, March/April 2003). Before 9/11 and the anthrax incidents at American Media, the Boca Raton based publisher had been interested in acquiring Estrada's print media outlets.
Verdeja said that the new group will maintain Hispanic Publishing's existing editorial positions, keeping editors Carlos Verdecia at Hispanic Magazine and Joe Vidueira at Hispanic Trends and Hispanic Online.
…Vista, same owner, new vistas
Fred Estrada keeps Vista Magazine, the main Hispanic insert in the US newspaper market. Gustavo Godoy, Vista's publisher, told Portadatm that in this new phase of Vista's history, the newspaper insert will expand its presence into a host of newspapers in different key states of the Hispanic market. Godoy added that Vista has been receiving many inquiries from newspapers located in non-traditional areas where the Hispanic population has grown a lot – states like Wisconsin, Oregon, Minnesota and Nevada. At the end of March, Vista moved out of the offices it shared with Hispanic Magazine, Hispanic Online and Hispanic Trends in Coral Gables and into a place of its own. Vista Magazine had sales of more than US $5.3 million last year. Godoy noted that in the first quarter of 2003 Vista's advertising revenues increased by 51.2% compared to the same period last year.