In theory, business-to-business publishers theoretically better placed to ride out a recession, with business models less reliant on cyclical ad market and loyal subscription-based audiences. But no publisher is immune to this downturn or the long-term pressures on print revenues. Three major business media players are feeling the pinch in their own ways…
– Emap: B2B publisher Emap swung to a £2 million loss for the year to March 31, from a £12 million pre-tax profit the year before. It made £5 million more revenue at £283 million, according to documents filed at Companies House. The company, which publishes Drapers and Nursing Times, was bought jointly by private equity firm Apax Partners and Guardian Media Group for £1.3 billion last year. Though the profits for 2007/08 are down, this is largely linked to the company’s PE buy-out — profits are used to pay-off the interest on debt from the GMG/Apax acquisition. Operating profits are thought to be much higher and doing relatively well. Via Media Week. Disclosure: paidContent:UK publisher ContentNext is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian News & Media.
– Reed Elsevier: Confirming its recent forecast, a management statement says the company’s core divisions (Elsevier and LexisNexis, which account for more than 80 percent of profits) are experiencing growing demand for online products. But it’s worse news at the B2B wing RBI, which publishers Variety – ad budgets are “significantly” down and RBI is being forced to save $205 million year, rising to $350 million by 2011. Reed still hopes to sell RBI in the long term, following a failed, protracted sell-off attempt last year. Release.
Reed also announces an appointment today: Anthony Habgood, currently chairman of food distribution group Bunzl, will be appointed chairman on June 1 to replace Jan Hommen, stepping down today. Release.
– Pearson (NYSE: PSO) rights issue rejected: The Financial Times owner and global educational publisher has had its proposal for a new £270 million share placing rejected by some of its its largest shareholders. The company said the new capital – equivalent to five percent of its share value – was needed for unspecified acquisition opportunities, but it appears shareholders were reluctant to pass the deal without more detailed plans. Pearson has already made one big acquisition this month in the shape of China-based English language school group Wall Street English, for which it paid for £145 million. From FT.com.