Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

BusinessWeek’s Fire Sale Nets McGraw Hill $5.9 Million, or $15,000 Per Staffer

dark-knight-burningMcGraw-Hill isn’t quite done with BusinessWeek–it isn’t supposed to formally hand off the magazine to Bloomberg until later this year–but it is just about there. Today the company told investors just how much it will net from the sale of the 80-year-old title: $9.3 million, or $5.9 million after taxes.

That works out to less than $15,000 for each of the magazine’s 400+ employees.

That doesn’t exactly synch up with the reporting we’ve seen about the sale. BusinessWeek, among others, has pegged the sale price at somewhere between $2 million and $5 million, plus the assumption of liabilities, which could be tens of millions. Anyone with accounting expertise want to weigh in?

It’s possible that McGraw-Hill will discuss the sale during its earnings call this morning, though I wouldn’t bet on it: BusinessWeek is one of the company’s most visible brands, but it’s barely material to its business.

UPDATE: There was indeed a bit of discussion about the sale. The company confirmed the $5 million sale price, and said Bloomberg “will assume certain liabilities including our unfulfilled subscription liabilities”. I still don’t understand how it gets to the $9.3 million and $5.9 million numbers, but that’s mostly academic at this point.

How will McGraw-Hill fare without BusinessWeek? Pretty well, it seems. The company will lose around $100 million in revenue next year, but still end up saving $20 million to $25 million without having to foot the magazine’s bill, executives said.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik