Reed Elsevier chief: We should have sold RBI sooner

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Reed Elsevier’s outgoing chief executive Sir Crispin Davis has acknowledged that the group put its B2B magazine division, Reed Business Information, up for sale too late.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Davis said: “In retrospect, we should have moved earlier. If we’d known that this downturn was going to happen, we may have said it was worth the risk.”

Reed put RBI up for sale last February but the disposal was abandoned in December. A number of bidders came forward, but Reed Elsevier said the terms were not acceptable.

RBI is still marked for sale. Another attempt to dispose of the unit is expected when market conditions improve. Whenever that’ll be.

Davis is stepping down next week. His replacement is Ian Smith, the former head of construction firm Taylor Woodrow.

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