OLD Media Moves

Bidders emerge for BusinessWeek

July 23, 2009

Jon Fine of BusinessWeek writes Thursday that a handful of bidders have emerged to purchase the McGraw-Hill business glossy.

Fine writes, “One company participating in that process is OpenGate Capital, the Los Angeles private equity firm that in October 2008 purchased TV Guide magazine (without its Web operations) for $1 plus the assumption of substantial liabilities. Another interested party, though it is not yet fully certain he will place a bid, is the veteran financier Bruce Wasserstein. Wasserstein is the chairman and CEO of Lazard Frères and also chairman of investment firm Wasserstein & Co., which holds a substantial stake in business publisher Penton Media and owns The Deal magazine. In 2003, Wasserstein bought New York magazine.

“There are at least a few more companies expected to attend the BusinessWeek management presentations as well, though their identities could not be immediately determined. A spokeswoman for OpenGate said executives from the company are on vacation and can’t be reached, and a spokesman for Wasserstein declined to comment. Attendance at these management presentations does not guarantee that a participating company will make a final bid, but before a company can take part in such meetings it generally must make some kind of preliminary, nonbinding offer for the property being shopped.

“Financial data — invariably termed ‘black books,’ though they don’t always appear in such a form — for BusinessWeek went out to interested parties around six weeks ago, said executives from outside companies who saw the information. These executives, all of whom insisted on anonymity because they signed confidentiality agreements, say the data state that BusinessWeek lost around $20 million on revenues of $147 million in 2008, and that slightly smaller losses are projected in 2009 on revenue of around $135 million. These losses do not, however, include key corporate overhead items, such as rent and certain infrastructure-related costs. When all those items are factored in, the total loss figure essentially doubles, said two executives who saw the data.”

Read more here.

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