After a rough patch, Alpha Media’s deal to sell Maxim magazine to newly formed Darden Media appears to be back on track.
What’s more, industry veteran Bob Guccione Jr. is expected to be named as the new CEO of the lad mag.
“They expect to close in the next seven to 14 days,” Guccione told Media Ink just before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Guccione made his name at the helm of Spin magazine and also started now-defunct men’s magazine Gear. The son of Penthouse founder and former owner Bob Guccione Sr., the younger Guccione’s
most recent gig running Discover Media ended in 2007.
The pending arrival of Guccione would seem to spell the end for Ben Madden, who has been running Maxim as its president through the sale process run by Alpha, which is owned by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.
The word on the street was that the sale had stalled because one of the financial backers behind Calvin Darden Sr. — a retired UPS executive who sits on the board of Coca-Cola and Target and who was once dubbed one of the most powerful black executives in America by Fortune — was getting cold feet.
When the unidentified backer pulled out, industry sources said the entire deal was put in jeopardy.
“There were some issues, but he’s been replaced,” Guccione said, referring to the unnamed financial backer.
Industry sources said that Calvin Darden Jr. is also expected to play a role in the newly formed Darden Media; however, Darden Jr. denies having any role or title in the company.
Darden Jr. has a checkered past. In 2005, he was convicted of stealing nearly $6 million from securities firms and investors, including former NBA star Latrell Sprewell and musician Nelly.
He had to forfeit a multimillion- dollar mansion in Glen Cove, LI, and lost the leases on his Lamborghini and Porsche, which ran $200,000 a month.
Of his conviction, Darden Jr. said, “As far as my past is concerned, I’d prefer to leave it precisely there — in the past.”
An email to Darden Sr. was not answered by presstime.