|October 22, 2009|
|BusinessWeek Goes for a Song, Times Co. Saves Face|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|A burst of media news sums up the state of the Fourth Estate. |
Deals for BusinessWeek and Breakingviews speak volumes about the value chasm that divides mainstream and electronic media. Meanwhile, New York Times Co. chairman and publisher Pinch Sulzberger retreats and the Washington Post returns to the good old days of the American Civil War.
Bloomberg L.P. is a good landing spot for McGraw-Hillís BW. It has plans to invest in the magazine and extend the brand to TV. Thatís more promising than a takeover by a hedge fund or vanity publisher like New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman, who already had a shot with a business publication, Fast Company.
Bloomberg, the financial data and news company, reportedly paid $5M in cash and picked up another $10M in liabilities for BW, a sum not even considered chump change by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, founder of the acquiring media combine. The BW outlay equals a couple of days (hours?) of advertising dollars for Bloomie's re-election campaign.
Where was the reported bidding war for BW? What were the other bidders offering, ten bucks or so?
The total BW price falls below the $18M that Thomson Reuters is purportedly paying for Breakingviews, the opinion website that has 15,000 subscribers. It also syndicates material to New York Times, Le Monde, National Post and Daily Telegraph. Breakingviews has a team of 22 staffers. It was founded in 1999. BW employs 425. It was founded in 1929.
Time will tell whether Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters got the better deal.
The New York Times Co. has now hunkered down in Bean Town. Sulzberger saved a lot of face calling off the Boston Globe auction. Accepting the $35M offer would have been a major embarrassment to Times management that paid $1.2B for the Globe in 1993.
The Washington Post unveiled its much-anticipated redesign yesterday. It is returning to a century-old typeface and "tiered headlines" that Editor & Publisher notes went out of fashion long ago at many metro newspapers.
A friend of O'Dwyer's concurs. He nearly fell off his chair, shocked by the "century-before-the-last century use of triple deck heds" in the new format. It reminded him of his collection of Civil War editions of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.
Apparently, it is back to the future at WaPO.
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