NEW YORK, SEPT. 23 -- Ms. magazine, the pioneering feminist magazine founded 15 years ago, is being sold to a female-run subsidiary of a major Australian media group, it was announced today.

The editor in chief will be Anne Summers, former head of Australia's Office of the Status of Women and an officer of Fairfax Publications, a new U.S. subsidiary of the Australian parent company, John Fairfax Ltd.

"Now, Ms. is ready to assume the larger role that a corporate form and real financial support can give," Ms. cofounder Gloria Steinem said in a statement. She and outgoing editor in chief Patricia Carbine, another cofounder, will serve as consultants in the new venture.

The magazine, founded in 1972, had been owned by the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication Inc. The purchase price was not stated.

"In the past, its foundation status has also restricted its electoral and political coverage," Steinem said.

Sandra Yates, former secretary of the Women's Electoral Lobby in Australia, is president of the new U.S. subsidiary.

"The opportunity to carry forward the Ms. tradition is a terrific honor," Yates said.

"With the resources of John Fairfax Limited, we will be able to at once increase readership and pursue women's issues with vigor."

The statement said Fairfax is prepared to invest heavily in building Ms. magazine's circulation and advertising and has set a target circulation of 650,000 within five years.

Current circulation is about 480,000