Peter Brant ‘Assumes Full Control’ of All His Magazines

It's not clear exactly what's going to change.

Peter M. Brant at the Montblanc De La Culture Arts Patronage Award ceremony at Kappo Masa, November 10, 2015, in New York. Photo Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Montblanc.

New York art collector and publisher Peter Brant has “assumed full control” over magazines that were part of a merger last year in a continuing shuffling and reshuffling of ownership, according to a new announcement from the company.

In a historic deal that gave rise to widespread speculation about who actually won out, Brant merged magazines he had long owned—the century-old Art in America along with Antiques and MODERN—with one of its principal competitors, the also century-plus-old ARTnews, in summer 2015.

That deal saw Brant, a newsprint magnate and, according to the New York Times, a onetime billionaire, acquire a 47.61 percent share in Artnews SA, the Poland-based company that publishes ARTnews.

As part of the deal, Skate Capital Corp, headed by Russian art market analyst and investor Sergey Skaterschikov, sold Brant 6.6 million Artnews SA shares for $3.4 million. Skaterschikov had briefly owned Artnews SA before selling it to the Polish company Abbey House. The deal left Brant as the majority shareholder in Artnews SA, while that company took ownership of AiA, Antiques and MODERN, which were formerly part of Brant Publications. Brant retained ownership of his flagship publication, Andy Warhol’s Interview.

The current covers of ArtNews and Art in America magazines.

Recent covers of ArtNews and Art in America magazines.

A few months later, the company announced that ARTnews would go to a quarterly publication schedule, down from monthly. Artnews CEO Izabela Depczyk resigned with immediate effect four months after the deal. Former Warhol protégé Vincent Fremont took up that position the following month.

(For the record, I worked at Art in America in various editorial capacities from 2004 to 2014.)

The terse announcement from Brant’s reps reads as follows:

Brant Publications, Inc.’s BMP Media Holdings, LLC announced today it has taken control of all assets of Art in America, LLC; BAM MODERN, LLC; Antiques, LLC; and Artnews LTD from their former parent company, Artnews S.A., which is based in Poland. Once the transaction was completed, on May 25, 2016, BMP became the legal owner of the publications and will continue to operate them in the United States.

“The US magazines that BMP originally brought into this transaction, Art in America, The Magazine Antiques and MODERN, will continue their normal operation, as will ARTnews, under our management,” said Peter M. Brant, owner of BMP Media Holdings LLC. “This will allow us to begin to grow the US magazines.”

Asked what would actually change under the new terms, a rep for Brant said she was unable to provide further information.

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