Reed may have u-turned on plan to sell RBI

Ian Smith, the new chief executive of Reed Elsevier, is planning to scrap the proposed sell-off of business magazine division Reed Business Information, according to reports.

Reed postponed the sale of RBI, which publishes titles such as New Scientist, Variety and Travel Weekly, in December last year after it failed to find a buyer.

But under previous chief executive, Sir Crispin Davis, Reed said RBI was still considered a non-core asset by the company and it would attempt to sell it again at a later date, in the “medium term” when conditions in the market improve.

Reed said it was looking to sell RBI as it was heavily reliant on advertising revenues and no longer fitted in with the rest of the company.

Smith, the former head of construction firm Taylor Woodrow, took over from Davis who retired in March.

Smith had said that Reed would carry on with plans to dispose of the business publishing wing. But the Telegraph today reports that it understands he now views RBI as a core part of the business and, while some assets may be disposed, the core business will be retained.

The company is expected to outline its future plans when it publishes its half-year results on July 30, with Smith reported to be keen to better integrate and cross promote RBI assets with Reed Elsevier’s other businesses.

A spokeswoman for Reed Elsevier declined to comment.

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