12-year struggle for profit ends as The Business closes down

Press Holdings Media Group’s The Business is to close as the company announces the launch of a new monthly business title.

The now Barclay Brothers-owned title launched in 1996 as the Sunday Business, a weekly newspaper – later becoming The Business in 2002.

Under publisher Andrew Neil the title has been losing up to £3.5 million a year in recent years.

In January, 2003, 47 jobs were cut after a deal was made for Press Association to provide all its editorial infrastructure apart from a small number of staff writers and editorial executives.

In July, 2003 Neil thought he had found the answer for the title when he announced a deal to give away 300,000 copies free inside the Mail on Sunday and The Scotsman. But that deal was scrapped after six months.

In February 2005 The Business again tried to boost sales by offering free copies of magazines such as Time, Fortune and The Week.

The final gambit came in October, 2006, when the title relaunched as an A4 magazine aimed at City traders and hedge fund managers.

The latest circulation figures showed a total ABC of 41,843 – of which 9,764 were newstrade sales and 7,269 were subscriptions. News of the closure comes the day before the UK magazine ABC figures for the second half of 2007 are announced tomorrow.

News of the closure today apparently came as a complete surprise to editor Allister Heath – who announced on Monday that he was joining City AM.

When Press Gazette asked him about rumours that the title was going to close yesterday, he said: “I doubt that very much, that’s the first I’ve heard of that.

“The Business has been around for a long time and will continue to be around for a long time, I wish it the best of luck.”

Press Holdings as confirmed there are likely to be a small number of redundancies and the company is currently consulting with staff.

It has also today announced the launch of Spectator Business, due to launch in the spring, which will be edited by The Spectator’s business editor Martin Vander Weyer.

Spectator editor Matthew d’Ancona said: “At a time of record circulation for The Spectator, exciting levels of growth online, and our 180th anniversary year, this is an excellent moment to step up a gear and launch Spectator Business.

“Martin Vander Weyer, who will continue to edit the business pages of the weekly magazine, is the dream editor of the new title – a Spectator man to his fingertips, and a witty, brilliant observer of the business world. I believe this marks a milestone in the development of The Spectator in its long history and the start of a process of progressive expansion in the new multi-media, multi-platform world. The best is yet to come.”

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