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BusinessWeek’s Redesigned Site Launches; What Was That About A Sale?

We mentioned earlier this month about BusinessWeek’s site relaunch: it is live today, and starts with adding a lot more gray into the design. This is a pull back on the much bolder white-space-heavy redesign of its previous version, which launched in October 2007. From the editor-in-chief John Byrne’s note about the redesign, they started thinking about it a year ago, which means it took only about eight months for them to “sour” on the previous relaunch. Besides the color, main changes are in the navigation and use of video on homepage. The focus, and its hope, is that users look at it as a source for breaking news in business, a huge task for the magazine and site not really known for daily/up-to-the minute news.

Meanwhile, it seems like no one really knows if BusinessWeek is for sale. Speculation peaked after the New York Post did a story earlier this week.

Half of the sources I have spoken to say it is, the other half (who mainly consists of rivals) said they think it isn’t. Some swear they spoke to someone who has seen the book on it, and that parent McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP) has hired a bank (so pretty anecdotal); others say that the magazine going to lose about $50 million this year (some say it lost about $20 million last year; MHP doesn’t break down BW’s revenues separately in its earnings statements) and would be a big burden on the obvious suspects in this economy. One obvious suspect named in the NYP story is Bloomberg, what with Norman Pearlstine being there and the cash it has on hand. But Bloomberg seems to be the rescue-dog for every troubled news media company out there these days. Another source I spoke to has a conspiracy theory: that Murdoch leaked it to NYP, as a gossip item, so that he could figure out a way to buy it and merge the ops with Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS). Considering News Corp.’s meager history with buying and keeping magazines, that might be a stretch. Also, McGraw-Hill has historically been *very* slow in any kind of M&A, and if it has to, the first thing it would look to dispose in its portfolio is the odd amalgamation of eight ABC affiliate local TV stations that it owns. We’ll keep digging, and if you do know anything, you can send us a tip using our anonymous tip box in the right hand column.

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