Back in June just as summer was kicking into high gear, Rodale announced that it was exploring some “strategic alternatives” for its future including a possible sale. That announcement immediately got the attention of American Media Inc CEO David Pecker who said that he would move aggressively to get his hands on Men’s Health. At the time his company American Media Inc was on a shopping spree scooping up Us Weekly and Men’s Journal from Wenner Media. The announcement also allegedly got the attention of former Rodale exec David Zinczenko who was reportedly putting a team together to make a possible bid. Almost a month after announcing its plans to explore “strategic alternatives” Rodale’s bankers set a deadline for first round bids of August 3rd with speculation that the company could be sold for as much as $150 million by summer’s end, a paltry sum especially due to reports that American Media Inc had just dropped $100 million to buy Us Weekly from Wenner. Following that announcement, Rodale reportedly took out a $35 million line of credit putting up its real estate holdings as collateral.
Well it has been over a month since the deadline for first round bids was announced, summer is coming to a close and there has been no news out of Rodale on any next steps if any. There were reports that potential suitors included Meredith, Hearst, Bonnier and even digital publisher Ziff Davis. But then a few days after that became public, Bonnier and Ziff Davis dropped out of the bidding leaving only Meredith and Hearst. Perhaps the new $35 million line of credit Rodale reportedly took out during the bidding review was too rich for Ziff and Bonnier. But then a few days after those companies dropped out, another potential suitor popped up or perhaps it was always in the mix. Axel Johnson, the Sweden-based multinational conglomerate with holdings in energy, IT, real estate and grocery chains was said to be interested in Rodale. During this period it has been business as usual at the Pennsylvania based media company. Rodale announced the launch of Men’s Health Portugal and then a week after that installed a new head of digital. Mediawire reached out to reps for Rodale for an update on the company’s “strategic alternatives” effort but did not receive a response by the time this was published.