The rapidly evolving conventional wisdom about the hazy future of New York magazine continues to evolve rapidly! Perhaps Bruce Wasserstein's family would be less likely to sell off the mag if they had, say, an extra $188 million?
Yesterday it seemed logical to assume that the Wasserstein family trust that owns New York would want to sell it off after dad's death. After all, money-losing media vanity ownership is usually the exclusive preserve of the mature rich, not their progeny.
But! Today it was revealed that Wasserstein's death means a $188 million payout from Lazard. "Two of Mr. Wasserstein's eldest children, Pamela and Ben, are expected to play a pivotal role overseeing the trust," the WSJ reports. Coincidentally, those are the same two Wasserstein children with backgrounds in journalism—Ben, the NYO noted yesterday, even worked as a New York editor.
Ad Age says the family would probably want "a minimum of $75 million to $100 million" for the magazine—but that they're just as likely to keep it, at least for the foreseeable future. And writing at Newser, former New York editor Caroline Miller rhapsodizes about the greatness of rich guys willing to pour money into good, money-losing magazines, and beseeches Ben Wasserstein to step up and take over his dad's role.
Considering the debacle that young Jared Kushners' ownership of the Observer has been, it's odd that media types would fall over themselves once again to support a young, rich, and (all due respect to Ben) ignorant owner to take over one of the city's most prestigious media properties with nothing but ambition on his side. But as Miller points out, even that is usually preferable to owners who are very concerned with making a profit. The main quality a media mogul needs today: the willingness to lose money.