John Veronis, an investment banker whose boutique firm specialized in major media deals, including Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of the company that owned TV Guide, and who had earlier helped launch Psychology Today, died on June 24 2021 at his home in Manhattan. He was 93.
His wife, Lauren Veronis, confirmed the death.
Mr. Veronis had spent 30 years in the magazine business — he started at Popular Science in the late 1940s and helped make Psychology Today a quick success in 1967 — when he discovered his facility for putting buyers and sellers together.
In 1981, Mr. Veronis brought that experience and knowledge to Veronis, Suhler & Associates, which he started with John Suhler, a former president of the CBS Publishing Group. The firm arranged the sale of Diamandis Communications, which published Women’s Day and Car and Driver, to Hachette Publications for $712 million; Details, the fashion magazine, to Condé Nast Publications; and Walter Annenberg’s Triangle Publications, the owner of TV Guide and Seventeen, to Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation for $3 billion.
In 1990, Mr. Veronis helped broker the merger between two nascent satellite services in Britain — Mr. Murdoch’s Sky Broadcasting and British Satellite Broadcasting. The merger, announced in November 1990, created British Sky Broadcasting, also known as BSkyB. Mr. Veronis earned $1 million from Mr. Murdoch — a cut-rate fee, Lauren Veronis said in a phone interview, “because Rupert was busted.”
The company came to be called Sky, with operations across Europe. It was acquired by Comcast in 2018 for $39 billion.
John James Veronis was born on March 6, 1928, in New Brunswick, N.J., and grew up in Easton, Pa. After graduating from Lafayette College in Easton, John headed to Manhattan, where he was hired at Popular Science magazine and soon became its advertising director. He moved to Field and Stream, then to The American Home, a monthly magazine where he achieved a major breakthrough for the publication by bringing in advertising from Procter & Gamble. He rose to publisher; several years after the magazine was acquired by Curtis Publishing, he became president of the company’s magazine division.
After leaving Curtis, he spent nearly two years at the Interpublic Group of Companies, the advertising giant.
In 1967, Nicolas Charney was trying to launch Psychology Today. Mr. Charney, who had a doctorate in biology and biopsychology and knew Mr. Veronis’s brother George, a prominent oceanographer, asked Mr. Veronis for help. They built a business that included a popular textbook, games and educational films, then sold the company in 1971 to the Boise Cascade Corporation for an exchange of stock valued at $21.5 million.
After Mr. Veronis retired in 2010, he devoted some of his time to helping his son Nicholas with his financial technology company, iCapital Network, and his stepson, Harlan Peltz, with his mortgage lender, iBorrow.
In addition to his wife, his son Nicholas and his stepson, Mr. Veronis is survived by his daughter, Jane Veronis; another son, John; his stepdaughters, Perri Peltz and Alexandra Peltz Gelb; 14 grandchildren; his sister, Mary Thompson; and his brother, Alexander. His marriage to Sarah Shepard ended in divorce.more » « less