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Reed Disposes of More Magazines

24 Mar 2010

Publishing and events group Reed Elsevier is in advanced talks to sell some of its loss-making trade magazines and will close other titles during the first half of 2010, according to an internal memo.

John Poulin, chief executive of Reed Business Information in the United States, told staff he expected to announce the sale of various titles to separate buyers in the next few months, after the company failed to sell the whole business in 2008.

"This unfortunately will result in title closures and job losses across the business," Poulin wrote in a memo sent to staff.

"I know that this will come as a major disappointment but reflects the impact of the structural changes in our markets, accelerated by the recession."

Reed's RBI trade-magazines division brought in 463 million pounds of revenue in the first half, 15 per cent of the company's total, and 5 per cent of operating profit.

As well as controlled-circulation magazines, RBI includes paid-for titles such as Variety and Reed Construction Data US & Canada, which the company intends to keep in the US.

Reed Elsevier is a leading provider of publications and related work tools for scientists, healthcare professionals, lawyers and financial institutions. It also owns the world's biggest trade-exhibitions business.

In New York last week, Sandow Media, publisher of NewBeauty and Worth, announced last Thursday that it has acquired Interior Design, Furniture Today and other titles from Reed Business Information US.

In addition to Interior Design and Furniture Today, Sandow Media acquired Gifts & Decorative Accessories, Home Textiles Today, Casual Living, Home Accents Today, Kids Today and Playthings. Sandow Media said it would hire more than 100 employees as a result of the transaction.

The company hired industry outsider Ian Smith to succeed veteran CEO Crispin Davis early last year, but Smith resigned after just eight months in the job to be replaced by proven company insider Erik Engstrom.

Engstrom today said the company was in "relentless pursuit" of cost efficiencies and cuts at Reed Business Information would continue. The unit accounts for 6 percent of Reed Elsevier's adjusted operating profit, he said.

Revenue at LexisNexis, which accounts for 42 per cent of adjusted operating profit, rose 14 per cent, excluding currency effects. Sales at its exhibitions business declined 21 per cent on that basis, as companies cut back on marketing budgets and sending employees to conferences.

In Australia Reed has closed several titles and recently transacted a deal for iconic Encore magazine now owned by Focal Attractions of mUmBRELLA fame. The online directory was retained by Reed.


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