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Reader's Digest Looking to Sell for $1 Billion

Reader’s Digest Association, a fixture in Chappaqua from 1939 until its exit in late 2010, is reportedly looking to sell for a $1 billion price tag, according The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

The news comes after the company recently emerged from bankruptcy proceedings during which  Reader’s Digest was given authority to break its’ 20-year lease for the remaining space in their former Chappaqua headquarters, where it was once the largest-circulation magazine in the world. The Digest has since relocated to the Conde Nast Building at Times Square in New York City and Westchester One at One South Broadway in White Plains.

According to the Financial Times , the potential buyers of the Reader’s Digest include private equity groups and other magazine companies, but no bidders have come forward.

Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal said the company has hired financial advisers to explore the sale and could break the Digest into smaller parts.

The Chappaqua headquarters of the Reader’s Digest was sold in 2004 to Summit Greenfield, a development and investment partnership which is now involved in a lawsuit with theTown of New Castle to develop the former 114-acre property into Chappaqua Crossing, a residential/commercial development on the former site above the Saw Mill Parkway.

The company has been in financial peril for quite some time.  According to the Financial Times , the Reader’s Digest was bought in 2007 by Ripplewood, a private equity firm which drove the Digest to bankruptcy in 2009. Since emerging from bankruptcy in early 2010, the company lost $30 million of its $1.45 billion in revenues for the remainder of 2010.

According to sources, Reader’s Digest once occupied three floors of Westchester One in White Plains but have downsized to one-and-a-half floors, now employing about 300 people in that location.

“The company doesn’t comment on news reports,” said Evan Goetz, company spokesperson.

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