Kirkus Reviews Gets Unlikely Savior: Owner of the Indiana Pacers

At the beginning of the year, the 76-year-old publishing-industry magazine Kirkus Reviews was saved from Nielsen Business Media's chopping block, as DailyFinance reported exclusively. A month later, Kirkus -- known for acerbic treatments of upcoming books -- has a new owner, according to The New York Times: shopping-mall developer Herbert Simon, who also owns the NBA's Indiana Pacers. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed."With the growth of e-books and e-reading devices, no one can really see the future of publishing. But turmoil like this creates opportunities," Simon said in a statement. "At a time when even the definition of a book is changing, my love of books makes me want to be part of the solution for the book publishing industry."

At first blush, this may seem an "unorthodox" move (as the Times put it). But Simon is the co-owner of Tecolote Book Shop, an independent bookstore based in Montecito, Calif. Another of the bookstore's co-owners, Marc Winkelman, who's also CEO of seasonal retailers Calendar Holdings, will be the chief executive and minority stakeholder in what will now be known as Kirkus Media.

The only changes appear to be at the top. Managing editor Eric Liebetrau and editor Elaine Szewczyk will remain, and Kirkus will keep its biweekly print edition (and will, over time, "beef up" its digital offerings).

Simon is also chairman emeritus of the Simon Property Group (SPG), the largest shopping-mall operator and owner in America, which reported a 10% drop in its fourth-quarter earnings on flat revenue and steep income declines. Both SPG and the Pacers were originally jointly owned by Simon and his older brother Melvin, who died in September, and whose will is now being hotly contested by members of his family.

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