Bloomberg LP is buying BusinessWeek for a reported $2 million to $5 million, said Tom Lowry in BusinessWeek. In 2000, BusinessWeek was valued at up to $1 billion, but the 80-year-old magazine was “particularly hard hit by the Great Recession” and is now a money-loser for publisher McGraw-Hill. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Harold McGraw III are friends, but that doesn’t explain this “unprecedented” breach of Bloomberg LP’s “‘build, don’t buy’ culture.”
Right, “the deal doesn’t make sense” for Bloomberg, said Jon Friedman in MarketWatch. BusinessWeek has “dim prospects,” at least in the near-term, as it and the broader magazine business struggle financially—see Condé Nast’s closure of Gourmet and other titles—and in terms of relevance. “You’d hate to conclude” that the purchase is driven by “a desire to satisfy an executive’s ego.”
It more likely “signals a wider journalistic ambition” at Bloomberg, said Stephanie Clifford in The New York Times. Bloomberg “is a force among finance professionals,” but not so much with corporate executives. BusinessWeek gives it a “toehold” among those high-power readers, and lets it take on rival Dow Jones, which “dominates” that niche with The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and SmartMoney.
“We believe BusinessWeek will be in good hands with Bloomberg and could even stage a comeback,” said Ben Parr in Mashable. But even so, it’s a “sad day for the once-venerable print industry” that one of its “once-mighty” institutions was “sold for essentially peanuts.”