Variety‘s parent company Reed Elsevier announced today that it has withdrawn Reed Business Information from being sold in the “medium term,” citing financial market turmoil and weak credit markets as factors in the decision. This comes to me via a small online article in the Hollywood trade. It says RBI — the magazine publishing division that includes Variety and Daily Variety, Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News, and Publishers Weekly — will remain under the ownership of Reed Elsevier and will continue to be overseen by RBI CEO Keith Jones. In an email sent to employees, Reed Elsevier CEO Crispin Davis said the current economy “has made it very difficult to structure a transaction which delivers sufficient value to our shareholders. We believe the business has significantly more value than can be realized in a transaction at this time.” Davis added: “While it still remains our strategic intent to divest RBI in the medium term, there is significant opportunity to strengthen and enhance value in the business, notwithstanding the current challenging trading environment.” The last I heard, the field had narrowed to three bidders for RBI: Bain Capital, TPG and Strauss Zelnick, the former non-executive director of Reed Elsevier who teamed up with private equity group Apollo. Back when the sale was first announced last February, Davis said the move was aimed at “reducing exposure to advertising markets and cyclicality,” enabling the Anglo-Dutch group to focus on its core business of “subscription-based information and workflow solutions.” Since then, things have even worsened for all the media biz.
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