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Variety, B&C, Multichannel to Be Divested

Feb 21, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The parent of Hollywood trade publications Daily Variety, Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News plans to divest the titles, opening the possibility of a sale.
Reed Elsevier said it plans to peel off its Reed Business Information unit, which holds those publications, as well as others including Publishers Weekly and New Scientist. The Dutch-Anglo company is shifting its strategy to focus on subscription services and business analytics, it said in a statement.
“RBI is a well-managed high quality business as evidence by the success of its online growth and the control of costs,” said Reed Elsevier CEO Crispin Davis in the statement. “Its advertising revenue model and the inherent cyclicality fit less well however with the subscription-based information and workflow solutions of Reed Elsevier’s strategy.”
The company said that while the outlook for Reed Business Information is positive, improving profit margins will likely come from “continued cost actions” and strength in its exhibitions business, rather than growth from publishing. Both general interest and trade publications are struggling to replace declining print advertising with online ad sales.
Reed Elsevier declined to comment whether it is in talks with buyers or whether it has a timeline to divest RBI’s.
The move to peel off Reed Business Information is part of a larger initiative that includes the sale of Harcourt Education and the acquisition of data and analytics firm ChoicePoint Inc. The company described these actions as part of a plan to streamline itself as a business solutions outlet.
Editor: Baumann

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