Updated: Is it? That’s been the speculation for a long time now, and Sharon Waxman, the former NYT reporter, says that Hollywood Reporter and the other 41 trade papers in Nielsen Business Media division is up for sale, citing “two solid sources.” If true, this means that both the major Hollywood trades are on the block, with Variety (as part of Reed Business Information) being in the middle of a sale process as well.
THR’s revenues have declined from a $20 million EBITDA to $9 million, and may drop as low as $6 million in the coming year, according to Sharon. Compare this to Variety, which is doing about $100 million in revenues, though not sure of the profits. THR has been cutting positions of late, and retrenched as much as one-third of its 135 strong staff.
NBM has 40 publications, over 135 trade shows and conferences, and 195 digital products and services, and on the media trade side, including THR, Billboard, Backstage, Adweek, Mediaweek, Editor & Publisher and others. The company is denying the unit is on the block…we’ll see how long that official position lasts.
Updated: Besides Nielsen’s official denials, some other insiders are also pooh-poohing the on-sale sign, and the numbers mentioned in the report, including the EBITDA number. Someone put it very nicely to me: “Unless your new friends at the Guardian want to buy us, who out there is this mystery buyer? And why would they bypass Reed to get us?”