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Brill to sell Inside.com, close magazine

The publisher plans to sell its Web site to Primedia and suspend operations of Brill's Content, according to an internal e-mail.

Brill Media Holdings plans to sell Inside.com to trade publisher Primedia and suspend operations of its print magazine, according to an internal e-mail seen Monday by CNET News.com.

The expected deal, which will result in several layoffs, ends the much-hyped run of Inside.com, the online publication that attracted veteran journalists to cover the inner deal-making of the media and entertainment industries.

After Brill Media acquired the site from Powerful Media, the company continued with plans to turn the site into a subscription-only publication. The plan never gained momentum.

In an e-mail to employees, Chief Executive Steven Brill also said the company has suspended operations for Brill's Content magazine, which also covered media and journalism. Inside.com will remain online but will feature content primarily from Primedia publications.

"Obviously, I would have preferred for this partnership to be able to continue," Brill said in the e-mail, which was confirmed by a Brill Media representative. "This was not the way I wanted things to turn out for me, for my unstintingly supportive Brill Media partners, for those at Primedia with whom we have worked, and for you."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Most of the nearly 40 employees of the magazine and of Inside.com will be laid off effective Tuesday, according to the e-mail.

Brill Media has also ended its relationship with Primedia. The two companies originally partnered in creating Media Central, an online hub for distributing content from Primedia's laundry list of industry publications. As part of that deal, struck in January, Primedia acquired a 49 percent stake in Brill Media and offered a minority stake in Media Central to the publishing company.

Brill will remain CEO of Media Central until the end of the year.

"The immediate cause of the end of Brill's Content and the scaling down of Inside as an editorial entity is the unwinding of our partnership" with Primedia, Brill wrote. "For our entire game plan depended on our using the magazine and Inside to help build Media Central and vice versa."