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William B. Ziff, Jr.

January 1, 2019

Ziff Brothers Investments (Deceased) – New York, New York

William B. Ziff, Jr. was born on June 24, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. He joined Ziff-Davis Publishing Company in 1953 upon the death of his father. After a two year apprenticeship, he assumed control of the company in 1955 at age 25. At the time, the company published Popular Photography, Modern Bride and Popular Electronics with revenues under $5 million. Over the next 15 years, Ziff revitalized Flying and Car & Driver, launched Boating and Stereo Review; and acquired Skiing, Yachting and Cycle. By 1970, each of these special interest magazines was first in its field in paid circulation, advertising pages and advertising revenue. In the mid-1970s, Ziff founded a Business Publications Division, comprised of Travel Weekly, Hotel & Travel Index, Meetings and Conventions, and Official Hotel Resort Guide as well as World Aviation Directory and Business and Commercial Aviation. In the mid-1980s, Ziff sold 24 of the company’s consumer and business titles, retaining only computer titles including PC Magazine. CBS purchased the bulk of the special interest magazines for $362 million; News America (Rupert Murdoch) bought the trade publications for $350 million. Ziff-Davis soon became the leading publisher of computer magazines in the United States and Europe. In 1991, The Magazine Publishers of Ameria honored Ziff with the magazine industry’s highest distinction, the Henry Johnson Fisher Award. Reginald K. Brack, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Publishing, said at the award ceremony, “Bill Ziff is legendary among us for many reasons, not the least of which is his double-barreled success. It’s tough enough, as we all know, to succeed in this business, but Bill has done something most of us will never be able to claim. In fact, he’s done it twice; he’s built not one, but two extraordinary publishing enterprises – and that’s just so far.” He retired in November 1993 and in 1994 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company and the parent company Ziff Communications were sold.