TIME FOR CUTS?: Time Inc. is gearing up for what has been a recurring autumn event at the publishing company — a round of layoffs across multiple magazines and divisions. But when are the cuts coming? According to several sources, the company is expected to make staff reductions across the board next week. The move follows several rounds of layoffs the publisher has unveiled in each of the last three years. Last October, Time Inc. laid off 600 people across its divisions amid a restructuring of its executive team and reorganization of its magazines. Time Inc. did not comment on impending layoffs on Monday.
Reports on Friday speculated the coming cuts might be as large as last year’s, but several sources inside and outside the company believed that figure to be too high. Closures also aren’t expected to happen this time around, but sources speculate rate base or publishing schedule changes could be on the table. One title that has already unveiled changes is Fortune, which will trim the number of issues from its schedule by a quarter, to 18 from 25.
This story first appeared in the October 27, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
And while Time Inc. preps for cuts, Forbes on Monday began its third round of layoffs this year, which will continue through the end of the year. In January, Forbes dismissed 19 editorial employees and, in March, cut 50 positions across the company. While the number of staffers affected on Monday wasn’t disclosed, the cuts will be across the entire company. “We — and the entire media world — have been hit hard by both the severe recession and the seismic shifts wrought by the Web,” wrote Steve Forbes in a memo to staffers. “Given these dramatic events, further layoffs, unfortunately, are necessary across the entire organization.” — Stephanie D. Smith
FAN CLUB: Executives at McGraw-Hill Cos. addressed investors on Monday, revealing a few more details pertaining to the sale of BusinessWeek during the publishing company’s quarterly earnings conference call. As part of the deal, McGraw-Hill will receive $5 million in cash and Bloomberg will assume certain liabilities, including unfulfilled subscription liabilities. The transaction is expected to close, as previously reported, in the fourth quarter.
BusinessWeek posted a 29.3 percent decline in ad pages during the third quarter. Next year, with the magazine sale completed, McGraw-Hill expects to realize savings of about $20 million, pretax.
As the Dec. 1 closing date for the purchase nears, Norman Pearlstine and his team of strategists are already in the McGraw-Hill offices meeting with staffers as they transition BusinessWeek under Bloomberg LP ownership. According to sources close to the magazine, one strategist is Jim Kelly, the former managing editor of Time, who has been working with Pearlstine since the summer as a consultant to Bloomberg.
Kelly’s name has been mentioned along with several other former Pearlstine colleagues as a successor to editor in chief Stephen Adler, as have former Fortune managing editor Eric Pooley, and former Money and Fast Company editor Bob Safian. Sources believe the new owners are not rushing to name a new editor in chief, but are working overtime to help integrate Bloomberg and BusinessWeek operations across various functions. As for future top-level departures, sources say a few more could trickle out before the sale is final as the two camps reposition the BusinessWeek team, but broader staff reductions are not expected just yet. — Amy Wicks and S.D.S.