Bloomberg buys Business Week: Evidence of the power of the big journalism brand

Question: What’s a declining loss-making weeky business media brand with loads of liabilities and hundreds of staff worth in today’s market.

Answer: Not as little as you think.

Business wire and broadcasting giant Bloomberg has just paid between $2m and $5m for the 80-year-old US magazine Business Week, confounding reports that it would go for as little as $1.

It will also have to shoulder severance payments for however many of the title’s 400 staff it plans to cut.

Owner McGraw Hill, like so many other media companies, was desperate to get out of print publishing. But Bloomberg, which has made its money mainly via electronic information, evidently believes there is still plenty of cache to owning such a venerable print journalism brand.

As Press Gazette found in April – in a fragmented media world, we shouldn’t write off established journalism brands.

Business Week reports:

For Bloomberg, buying BusinessWeek will be its first major acquisition ever and a significant departure for a 28-year-old company nurtured on a ‘build, don’t buy’culture. ‘The BusinessWeek acquisition will yield huge benefits for users of the Bloomberg terminal, for our television, online and mobile properties,’says Daniel L. Doctoroff, president of Bloomberg LP and a former deputy mayor of New York City appointed by Mayor Bloomberg. ‘We couldn’t be more excited…We are not buying BusinessWeek to gut it. We are buying it to build it.”

Here’s a video from Business Week looking back at the title’s 80-year history:

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