Over the weekend, paidContent.org’s Rafat Ali reported that the second round of bidding for the assets of Reed Business Information (including Publishers Weekly) had begun—with McGraw-Hill cited as one of the leading contenders and Nielsen emerging as a less clear candidate for the role of buyer.
Now that would be a interesting turn of events, because it would place the PW, Library Journal and Kirkus brands in the same basket—and, though it’s not as immediately relevant to us in the book world, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. That said, it should be noted that two weeks ago, former NY Times film industry correspondent Sharon Waxman blogged that she had been told Nielsen might seek to unload its own business media division, which would probably put them out of the running for buying Reed Elsevier’s. McGraw-Hill, on the other hand, would conceivably be interested in absorbing RBI’s expansive portfolio of construction industry-directed media to augment its own offerings in that field, with the brands serving the publishing industry representing new territory that—and I’m just speculating wildly here—could fit under the BusinessWeek umbrella.
Whoever acquires RBI, though, it’s highly likely that the new owners may want to strip the main brands of all the baggage they’ve accumulated over the years and rebuild—merging the legacy identities with a new sense of best practices in serving industry-specific markets.