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Arena buys Parade mag

Digital publisher Arena Group (formerly known as Maven), US owner of Sports Illustrated and The Street, is acquiring Athlon Media Group (AMG), publisher of Parade, the Sunday newspaper magazine, for a reported $16m mix of cash and Arena shares (to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange).

The acquisition supports Arena’s strategy of moving into lifestyle content as well as enhancing its existing sports coverage. In addition to Parade, AMG publishes Relish, a culinary title, Spry, in the wellness market, and professional magazine Athlon Sports.

AMG had acquired Parade from Advance Publications in 2014. It has been distributed as a supplement to regional newspapers since its launch in 1941. It is said to have a circulation of 22m, some 50% below its peak.

The Arena Group publishes 200 digital brands across sports (its largest sector), finance and lifestyle. It is believed to have had $180m revenue in 2021 – 40% growth. It is believed that more than 50% of its revenue comes from subscriptions. In 2019, it acquired the rights to publish Sports Illustrated and also TheStreet a few months later. The company has raised over $129m and recently acquired the sports website The Spun for $11m.

Last month, Arena CEO Ross Levinsohn (ex News Corp/ Fox, Yahoo, and the Los Angeles Times) said its Sports Illustrated Media Group was one of the fastest-growing sports digitals in the US, now ranking fifth among all sports media on ComScore with audience growth of 237%. Additionally, The Arena Group become a Top 50 site, growing its overall digital audience by 36.1m uniques in 2021.

The Arena Group