Bruce Wasserstein, the Lazard chairman and media owner whose properties included New York magazine, trade publisher Penton Media and The Deal, died today at 61. He was hospitalised earlier this week for what was characterized as an irregular heartbeat.
Under Wasserstein, New York Media editor-in-chief Adam Moss led th magazine to win award after award at the annual National Magazine Awards while NYMag.com became an example of what magazines ought to do online.
His other investments include trade publisher Penton Media and The Deal. New York is part of New York Media, which belongs to a family trust. "We're shocked and saddened by the loss of Bruce Wasserstein," Moss and publisher Larry Burstein said in a statement.
The Deal, where Wasserstein was also chairman, is owned by private equity funds sponsored by Wasserstein and Co.
Wasserstein led the investment group that struck a deal to buy New York magazine from Primedia in December 2003, paying $55 million, plus around $2 million in debt, for a title that was then struggling, defeating other contenders including American Media, CurtCo Robb Media and a consortium led by Daily News' Mort Zuckerman.
Wasserstein was also rumored to be among those interested in acquiring BusinessWeek magazine, which wound up going to Bloomberg LP (See: McGraw-Hill sells BusinessWeek to Bloomberg)