Fate of Larger Technology Trade Publishers in Question
The publisher of EDN magazine – Reed’s Business Information unit – made the Wall Street Journal today: Reed Faces Challenge in Selling Unit. Reed’s dilemma is that the asking price for the unit has fallen too low, thanks to a continuing decline in ad revenue, the overall credit crunch, and the general decline of the economy. Yet Reed must sell in order to meet other business commitments.
But here’s where the story gets even more painful for the technology trade industry. Bain Capital, a private-equity firm, is one of two potential buyer of Reed’s Business-Information unit. Yet Bain has recently made a move to unload most of its semiconductor and EDA funds by next year. So if Bain does purchase Reed’s Business Information unit, why would they hold on to EDN?
Now let’s turn to Penton, my former employer and the publisher of Electronic Design magazine. Since its acquisition by Prism (formerly Pri-Media) last year, Penton has slowly been letting go of editors. David Morrison is the latest to leave. So what’s going on? Just more cuts in experienced (meaning expensive) editors? Then why have I been approached by investors concerning the state of Penton as a publisher?
It’s very disheartening to see the continued crumbling of our trade journal industry. The loss of talented and truly knowledgable editors will cripple our industry for years to come. Even worse, I don’t think the layoffs/cuts are over, especially for the major publishers who are still laden with too many administrative layers and pre-Internet/social media mindsets. The fat lady isn’t singing, but let’s hope she is warming up and the worst is over.