September 14, 2009

BusinessWeek sale under Internet shadow

Bids for BusinessWeek are due Tuesday with the struggling U.S. publication swimming against the modern force of the Internet, an industry analyst said.

The weekly business staple, owned by McGraw-Hill for 80 years, lost $43 million last year with the downturn in print advertising, The New York Times reported Monday.

Weekly publications in general have to deal with the fact that the Internet does provide current news, and that's what the purpose of a weekly magazine started out to be, Petra Arbutina, executive vice president and director for contact strategy at Brunner, a marketing firm, told the Times.

In 2008, BusinessWeek published 1,900 pages of advertisements, down from 5,000 in 1999.

A buyer would have to assume a $31.9 million debt and a magazine struggling for relevance in the age of the Internet.

Six potential buyers include Bloomberg, the founder of rating firm Morningstar Joe Mansueto, OpenGate Capital, Warburg Pincus and Platinum Equity, the newspaper said.

Piper Jaffray market analyst Peter Appert was not optimistic about BusinessWeek's future.

I don't think the prospect of meaningful earnings recovery is particularly good, he said.