Image via WikipediaAttention bargain-hunters--instead of plunking down several dollars at the newstand for the latest issue of BusinessWeek, head over to McGraw-Hill Companies, hand them $1, and they may sell you the 80-year-old magazine outright.
McGraw-Hill, an educational publisher and owner of Standard & Poor's rating agency, confirmed it "is exploring strategic options for BusinessWeek," which is the corporate-speak equivalent of posting a "Fire Sale" sign. According to the Financial Times, McGraw-Hill retained investment bank Evercore to unload BusinessWeek, which according to BusinessWeek's Website, has more than 4.8 million readers worldwide served by 155 editorial employees in its New York headquarters and 31 correspondents at 17 bureaus in the U.S. and throughout the world.
The latest figures from the Publishers Information Bureau hold the key--ad pages for the venerable business journal are down 36.8 percent for the first-half of 2009. The Financial Times reports that McGraw-Hill in April released numbers showing a 76.4 percent decrease in first quarter operating profits from its information and media division, which encompasses Platts, JD Power & Associates, and BusinessWeek.
Identifying a potential buyer is the latest parlor game in the Manhattan publishing scene. The Financial Times, as well as Jon Fine, a blogger BusinessWeek, roll out the usual suspects, from Time, Inc., and Conde Nast, to Bloomberg, LP, Pearson Publishing, and Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto, owner of Fast Company and Inc. magazines.
The Financial Times queried bankers who believe a buyer may emerge from among Mansueto Ventures, Platinum Equity (owner of the San Diego Tribune), or OpenGate Capital, which recently landed TV Guide for $1, a likely purchase price for BusinessWeek. Some analysts note that BusinessWeek generates roughly 2 percent of McGraw-Hill's total revenues while generating a small loss, so that its divestiture from McGraw-Hill's portfolio would have a minor impact.
With readers' changing habits and the recessionary economy's impact on traditional media nationwide, BusinessWeek, like its counterparts, Fortune and Forbes, ironically may find itself reporting on its own imminent demise.