Magazine publisher Doubledown Media closes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Doubledown Media, publisher of Trader Monthly and other magazines aimed at rich and aspiring Wall Street executives, shut down after a chief backer pulled its financing, according to a memo obtained by Reuters.

Doubledown, which also publishes Cigar Report, Dealmaker, Corporate Leader and Private Air, lost its credit line from a bank affiliate of HSBC, President Randall Lane wrote in a memo that was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

As a result, Doubledown is suspending operations immediately, Lane said in the memo, which was sent on Monday.

“I cannot begin to convey how heartbroken we are,” Lane wrote. “These are unprecedented times: the combination of the media depression, the Wall Street implosion and the credit slowdown were collectively too much for our company -- probably any company in our shoes -- to overcome.”

Advertisers and business partners owe Doubledown a “substantial seven-figure sum,” he wrote, “but as with everyone else, payments to us have slowed precipitously, which in turn has crippled our ability to pay our bills on time.”

About a dozen organizations have expressed interest in buying some or all of Doubledown’s assets, Lane wrote.

Lane could not be reached. A spokesman declined to comment. The news was first reported on Folio magazine’s website.

Doubledown, based in New York, recently laid off more than a third of its staff, and reduced salaries for others, Folio reported.

One employee, who declined to be identified for fear of retribution from company executives, said some ad staff stopped receiving salary checks last year and were only getting sales commissions. Then ad sales dried up, along with the money.

Last year, the magazine said, Doubledown Chairman and top investor Jim Dunning gave the company a $300,000 loan to cover operating expenses. Folio said he had invested more than $3.5 million in the second half of 2008, for a total of $8 million.

Dunning, reached on his mobile phone, declined to comment.

The demise of Doubledown comes as business and financial press are dealing with falling ad sales, particularly to publications that cater to financial professionals who are being laid off by the thousands worldwide.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan; editing by Richard Chang)

Clickhere to see Reuters MediaFile blog