BUYER’S MARKET: At least one major media conglomerate has ruled itself out of the running to buy Reed Business Information, the Reed Elsevier division that puts out Variety, Publishers Weekly and Broadcasting & Cable, among others. A spokeswoman for Condé Nast Publications (which also owns WWD) said Tuesday that the company isn’t interested.
Which means an already small list got even smaller — many media analysts had tipped Condé Nast as a strong contender — and further raises the question as to why Reed Elsevier is selling now. For one, the Anglo-Dutch company won’t see the kind of money it could have garnered a year ago. The magazines could sell for between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, according to analysts, but could have pocketed as much as $3.5 billion if they had approached the market before the economy began to buckle, said Reed Phillips, of investment firm Desilva + Phillips. Second, during the next year or so, the credit crunch will severely limit the possibility a private equity player will swoop in, since it’s going to be harder than ever to use the amount of debt they typically like to on a deal of this size. Noted another analyst, “For the next year, deals above $2 billion are few and far between.” Phillips said that if larger private equity players become interested, they may look for a group deal. Analysts pointed to Permira, Apax Partners, Court Square Ventures, Providence Equity and the Carlyle Group as those who might scan the books.
A strategic buyer makes the most sense, though, according to some analysts, although Phillips predicted there aren’t too many of them out there, calling Reed, “too big, too diverse.” There is also speculation that if Reed cannot find a suitable buyer, the magazines might be sold off in pieces.
— Stephanie D. Smith and Amy Wicks
NEW GIRL: Vicki Wellington is apparently more partial to Bonnie Bell lipstick and Ugg boots than to curtains and flooring — she is leaving her post as associate publisher at Domino to become publisher of CosmoGirl. Wellington succeeds Kristine Welker, who last week was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. Wellington has been with Domino since its launch, but leaves as the title posted a 3.7 percent dip in ad pages for 2007, to 725 pages, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Prior to her time at Domino, Wellington spent 10 years at Self, first as advertising director and then as associate publisher, and also worked at Rolling Stone and Ms. She takes her new post March 10. — S.D.S.
TEAMING UP: Lesley Jane Seymour brought in a former colleague as her number two at More on Tuesday. Judith Coyne was named executive editor at the title, succeeding Barbara O’Dair, who left to join her former boss and Seymour’s predecessor, Peggy Northrop, at Reader’s Digest. For the past seven years, Coyne was executive editor of Good Housekeeping. She was also editor in chief of New Woman and Woman.com, and was executive editor of Glamour, where she and Seymour (as well as Northrop) worked under Ruth Whitney. Northrop told WWD in January that she and Seymour discussed making More similar to Whitney’s Glamour, but for women in their 40s and 50s. Seymour and Coyne join More as circulation continues to climb for the fortysomething women’s title — for the second half of 2007, paid and verified circulation grew 6.5 percent to 1.27 million. — S.D.S.