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Congressional Quarterly’s Sale To Economist Group Being Announced Tomorrow?

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Update: It has been announced.
The Congressional Quarterly sale process has been going on since early this year, and Roll Call, its rival (part of The Economist Group), is the buyer. Other like the Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), Bloomberg, National Journal/ Atlantic Media, and Allbritton Communications (parent of Politico) have looked at it along the way. FishbowlDC reports that CQ’s president Bob Merry sent a company-wide email today calling for an all-hands staff meeting tomorrow at 10 AM ET.

CQ is owned by Times Publishing Co., the owner of the ailing St. Petersburg Times, and the company– which in turn is owned by the nonprofit Poynter Institute — put CQ on the market early this year to focus on its Florida papers. CQ serves a niche of Capitol Hill insiders, a crowded field now with Roll Call, Politico, National Journal and The Hill covering similar areas. CQ has been among the most aggressive of the lot in its online push, with its online subscription service being the biggest source of its revenue. This NYT story says the publication has been consistently profitable and had double-digit annual revenue growth in recent years.

Meanwhile, last year RollCall acquired Capitol Advantage, a provider of online political tools, for $43 million, and in 2006 it bought GalleryWatch, an online legislative tracking service.

Speaking of Capitol Hill, National Journal just launched a new social networking service called 3121 (the phone extension of the Capitol switchboard), aimed only at the Hill staffers.