And just like that, Texas Monthly has a new owner. It’s Randa Duncan Williams, a billionaire oil heiress with a long-running admiration for the National Magazine of Texas. She’ll act as chairman of the newly created Texas Monthly, LLC.
Reports landed just yesterday morning that private equity firm Genesis Park had brought on Goldman Sachs to explore a sale. (More reports landed from our Tim Rogers, who incorrectly guess-tigated that the buyer would be Dallas’ Ray Washburne, who owns the Mi Cocina empire and once had publishing dreams of his own.) Houston-based Genesis and its founder Paul Hobby owned TM just two and a half years. They bought it for $25 million and are not disclosing the terms of their sale. The magazine reports that it has grown digital revenue from 8 percent of its ad sales in 2017 to 20 percent in 2019, and expanded event sponsorship revenue from 6 percent to 18 percent of its total. But those shifts have been facilitated, at least in part, by falling revenue from print advertising.
Williams, who is 57, comes from the family of Dan Duncan, founder of Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners. She’s the ninth-wealthiest person in Texas, per Forbes. She says in a statement that she has “been an avid Texas Monthly reader since I was a teenager,” and that “I especially enjoy the longform storytelling” that has brought the magazine much acclaim through the years. She assures readers that the integrity of the publication will be untouched. In a statement, editor Dan Goodgame vowed to continue the magazine’s dedication to narrative nonfiction and deep reporting.
Print publications are getting bought up by greedy, detached companies that want to squeeze out what they can and bolt. Texas Monthly could do a lot worse than a billionaire owner with an apparent personal interest in the brand. After all, it’s worked for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Atlantic, all of which have expanded their operations since the purchases.