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Bloomberg Enters Bid Fray For BusinessWeek

Posted by: Jon Fine on September 10, 2009

Bloomberg LP has re-entered the bidding process for McGraw-Hill’s BusinessWeek, several sources familiar with the situation say, and is expected to meet with BusinessWeek executives to get more detailed information on the magazine’s operations early next week.

The news comes as a surprise, as Bloomberg previously passed on BusinessWeek, following much earlier talks. It is not clear what drew Bloomberg back into the process. Bloomberg’s Chief Content Officer, Norman Pearlstine, did not respond to several messages placed yesterday evening and today. A Bloomberg spokeswoman declined to comment, as did spokesmen from McGraw-Hill and BusinessWeek.

Bloomberg’s move comes in the very endgame of the process, with final bids for BusinessWeek coming due Tuesday, September 15.

At least ten companies, including Bloomberg, have participated in management presentations in which buyers receive more detailed information on the magazine’s operations. Other parties known to have taken part in those presentations are Bruce Wasserstein, ZelnickMedia, Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto, and private-equity firms OpenGate Capital, Platinum Equity, and Warburg Pincus.

One of the parties that attended a management presentation is a non-US based company, an insider familiar with the process says, though it’s not clear who that party is or whether that proposed bid is still active.

Wasserstein, OpenGate, and ZelnickMedia are still in the hunt for BusinessWeek, executives familiar with the situation say. Representatives for Wasserstein and ZelnickMedia declined to comment. An OpenGate spokeswoman confirmed that company remained in pursuit of BusinessWeek.

It’s uncertain how many of the others companies that took in management presentations on BusinessWeek remain active in the process as well, but I will update this post as I come across that information.

(Looks like the New York Post's Keith Kelly heard the same things I did . . . )

Reader Comments


September 10, 2009 6:29 PM

Why would you sell? Maybe NewsCorp might be a better partner.

Don Evans

September 10, 2009 10:06 PM

If McGraw Hill doesn’t see BusinessWeek as a money making proposition it’s difficult to visualize any other owner making this publication a profitable enterprise. My view is that the magazine will have to become a subscription only web enterprise similar to Consumer Reports. Their web site offers limited access to all viewers but no detail unless the viewer has logged in to an account. Bloomberg News seems like a likely buyer because of it is a computer information based company.

Tracy White

September 11, 2009 1:14 PM

Isn't anyone else suspicious of a media company writing an article about a bidder for the sale of itself? Feels a bit like planted media to me.

Jonathan C. Silverman, Esquire

September 11, 2009 3:38 PM

As a bankruptcy lawyer for debtors since 1997, I was humbled to see an OC classmate in the pages of Businessweek.

Jules Messick

September 11, 2009 4:49 PM

If Mr. Fine did not cover the sales of BusinessWeek it would look far more suspicious.

One addendum: Joe Mansueto has withdrawn from the bidding according to the NY Post.

Blue Pencil

September 11, 2009 7:07 PM

dead trees don't dance.


September 12, 2009 3:10 PM

And in the meantime, everyone's deserting the pub. I wonder what Bloomberg, or whoever else, will be buying? Without the intellectual heft of its masthead, it's just a brand with little else behind it.

Ira in L.A.

September 13, 2009 12:13 AM

Once the deal is done, what will be the unifying brand for all these folks in the news business?


September 14, 2009 2:09 PM

Bloomberg is the best possible outcome for BW. It would quicken your news metabolism and add bottomless resources. The cultural gap is wide but bridgeable. Its 60 foreign bureaus would provide plenty of room for your folks. The BW DC bureau would do fine -- everyone there fits BBerg strategy. Bberg would cut people, as everyone would, mostly on the production side. But for 65-90 reporters and editors who know how to fight with the NYT and WSJ every day, plus some number of production and support people, Bberg is a buyer with the resources and will to let you do it. And to help you do it -- with travel money, smart colleagues, TV and Web distribution and more. The three signal achievements in business news of the last 25 years, excluding Steve Shepard's BW at its best, are the WSJ of the 80s, Fortune of the 90s and Bloomberg News. And the guy who ran WSJ 80s and oversaw Fortune 90s is at Bberg now. It's Norm Pearlstine.

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