W Magazine has been raised from the dead. Sold by Conde Nast to a group that appointed Les Moonves’s daughter as editor, W has now been purchased by another, even more odd group.
The new investors are said to be led by model Karlie Kloss, who is married to Jared Kushner’s brother Josh; Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber of Casamigas Tequila fame; ex Scooter Braun employees who managed Kloss and now have an investment firm, horror producer Jason Blum, and of course, quietly, the Moonveses. (It’s hard to believe Les Moonves isn’t a silent investor in his daughter’s magazine.)
W basically has no readership and no actual reason for being. It ceased print publication and plans just one more issue before the end of the year. They say they’ll have six issues next year. Their website’s current ranking on Alexa.com is around 14,000. For a magazine from a media group, that indicates non existent readership.
The idea that Karlie Kloss is the lead investor is amusing. Her husband, Josh, is the brother of reviled Jared and son of Charles, the man who once hired a prostitute to smear his own brother in law, and then went to jail. Josh Kushner is behind the sketchy New York health insurance company called Oscar.
One large investor is a company called Copper, described as an investment and advisory firm for entertainment. The top execs used to work for Scooter Braun and managed Kloss. The company is named for a woman named Copper Copley, who seems to be a socialite from Virginia.
Another investor in the new W is a Donald Trump friend and associate, Aryeh B. Bourkoff, the chief executive of LionTree, a boutique investment bank. The Financial Times reported in October 2016 that Jared Kushner had discussed the possibility of a Trump-branded television network with Bourkoff, who had helped advise media deals.
So this is the new W, which will plow ahead with a “New Originals” issue in the fall, undoubtedly edited by old W magazine holdover Lynn Hirschberg, who split with her former editor in chief Stefano Tonchi last year. Tonchi was trying to buy W from Conde Nast with his own set of investors and was rebuffed. He’s suing Conde Nast subsequently. But it was Tonchi who put W back on the map for Conde Nast.
How the new W Media is going to compete in a world where Conde Nast and Hearst are already flailing is beyond me. Fashion advertising doesn’t exist, almost no one cares about fashion at the moment, and “culture”– what they say they’re targeting– is on hold with Broadway and movies closed. So, stay tuned…