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Posts Tagged ‘Reader’s Digest Association’

RDA Selling Lifestyle & Entertainment Direct

Reader’s Digest Association is selling its Lifestyle & Entertainment Direct business as it continues to shed properties. The direct marketing segment sells a wide variety of products — like exercise equipment, music collections and videos — that are typically seen on infomercials.

A source told The New York Post that part of the problem at Lifestyle & Entertainment Direct was an inability to adapt by featuring new products, and that former RDA CFO Tom Williams was incapable of guiding the business out of its doldrums.

Lifestyle & Entertainment Direct reported an operating loss of $292 million last fiscal year.

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Reader’s Digest Announces New Human Resources Exec

Susan Cummiskey has been named senior vice president, global human resources for Reader’s Digest Association effective March 13. She will report to president and CEO Bob Guth and serve on the company’s executive committee.

“Susan is a highly respected human resource professional, with a background virtually tailored to our needs. We are very pleased to have her on board the RDA team,” said Guth. “Her deep experience in the global business environment as well as her expertise in refocusing resources will be critical as we concentrate on our core businesses and simplify and strengthen our organization.”

Cummiskey joins RDA from her practice as a leadership coach and human resource consultant, which she began in 2011. Prior to starting her own firm, Cummiskey was senior vice president, human resources, for Bowne & Co, Inc. (now part of RR Donnelly & Sons).

RDA Cuts Staff

In the wake of Reader’s Digest Association selling Weekly Reader to Scholastic Inc., the New York Post is reporting that about 40 staffers have been let go. Even though the deal was finalized last month, RDA is operating Weekly Reader through June.

Officials at Scholastic haven’t offered any clues into how many staffers will be kept once the publication is under their control. “We’re still working on it,” a spokesperson told the Post.

RDA Sells Weekly Reader

Reader’s Digest Association — in accordance with its stated goal of scaling back operations to just a few brands — has sold Weekly Reader to Scholastic, Inc. Weekly Reader is an educational magazine designed for the kindergarten through 12th grade classroom.

“As you have seen, we are very deliberately moving forward with our transformation plans for RDA,” said CEO Robert Guth in a memo that was obtained by the New York Post.

The exact number of the deal is unknown, but sources told the Post they believe it to be somewhere around or right below $5 million.

Meredith Acquires AllRecipes

Meredith is raiding Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) for the second time in the past four months, this time for AllRecipes.com, which as been for sale since December. In early October, Meredith acquired Every Day with Rachael Ray from RDA.

By adding the site, Meredith is giving its web presence quite a boost. “The acquisition of Allrecipes.com, the market leader in the digital food space, significantly enhances our leading consumer and advertiser proposition,” said Meredith’s CEO, Steve Lacy. “It more than doubles the scale of the Meredith Women’s Digital Network, and is expected to drive incremental revenue and profit growth, adding to our already strong free cash flow over time.”

When the sale was announced, some speculated that RDA would end up getting less than $200 million, which was less than RDA had hoped for. That prediction was right on, as Meredith has purchased the site for $175 million.

Reader’s Digest Association Cuts 150 Jobs

The slimming of Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) continues. The company cut 150 jobs — half in the United States, half internationally — as it keeps marching toward its goal of focusing on core brands.

According to Folio, a RDA spokesperson echoed the company line when discussing the job cuts. “In tandem, we are evaluating existing businesses which are not strategic and/or profitable, reducing our cost structure and identifying operating efficiencies,” said the spokesperson in an email.

When any company starts talking about “reducing,” it’s a bad sign for staffers. In other words, these cuts will likely be followed by more. The spokesperson didn’t deny that, saying, “As we continue to transform our company, we do expect that as a normal course of business, some positions will be eliminated and some new jobs will be created.”

Buyers for AllRecipes.com Might Get Sweet Deal

In late October, Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) sold Every Day with Rachael Ray to Meredith, and within a week, announced that it was putting AllRecipes.com on the block.

At the time, Robert Guth, RDA’s CEO, said the company decided to sell the popular site as a “commitment to enhancing shareholder value and sharpening our strategic and financial focus on our core master brands.” However, rumors are that potential buyers for AllRecipes are eyeing the site for a lot less than most thought.

According to the New York Post, the lead candidates to buy AllRecipes are Meredith, Scripps Network and Amazon. Each is allegedly hoping to get the food site for less than $200 million. We’re not sure exactly how much analysts think AllRecipes is worth, but that seems about right to us. It’s a popular site; but a limited one. Stay tuned for more, the site is a nice brand to have, so we’re sure it’ll be sold soon.

Reader’s Digest Association Puts AllRecipes.com Up for Sale

The purging continues at Reader’s Digest Association (RDA). Last week the company sold Every Day with Rachael Ray to Meredith, and now, according to Adweeek, it’s selling AllRecipes.com. Morgan Stanley and Evercore Partners are working with RDA on a possible sale, and it will certainly garner a high number; the recipe site is an extremely popular destination for foodies.

Even though it maintains a strong online presence, selling AllRecipes.com is part of RDA’s dedication to its central brands. “The exploration of a sale of Allrecipes demonstrates our commitment to enhancing shareholder value and sharpening our strategic and financial focus on our core master brands such as Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home and Family Handyman,” said recently appointed CEO Robert Guth.

Rachael Ray’s Demand for a Delish Deal Lead to Sale of Magazine

(Via Esquire)

Keep in mind that this is only a rumor, but according to Adweek, the biggest reason for Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) selling Every Day with Rachael Ray to Meredith yesterday was that Rachael Ray wanted more money. One source claimed that Ray was never happy with the amount of money she was getting from the magazine, and another said, “Rachael wanted a better deal, and they [RDA] [weren't] prepared to do it.”

Another problem was RDA’s contract with Ray, which kept the company from growing the title. “Because our agreement limited our participation to producing just a magazine, we were unable to expand the brand and its content across multiple platforms,” RDA’s CEO, Robert Guth, admitted. “Going forward, it was not a fit with our master brand strategy.”

Meredith apparently has a better deal in place as far as expanding the brand, but there’s no word on if the new contract includes more money for Ray.

How about that headline, by the way? We almost went with something that included “Sad Sammie” or “Not So Yum-O,” but ultimately went with “Delish” because it didn’t make us want to stab ourselves.

Reader’s Digest Association Looking for Buyer

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) has hired advisers to help the company find buyers, which might include other media companies or a private equity firm. RDA is reportedly hoping to get an offer around $1 billion.

Sounds like a lot for a company that is experiencing some dark times. According to Folio, revenue for RDA is down 21 percent through 2011′s first quarter, and despite doctor’s loving Reader’s Digest, its circulation continues to drop.

If RDA is looking for hope, it should look no farther than Myspace’s recent sale. Sure, News Corp. lost a ton of money on the deal, but it proves that there’s always someone out there looking to buy whatever someone else is selling.

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