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Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK) plans to sell off a major portion of its U.S. assets — including B&C and Multichannel News — but will keep Variety, which has a detailed report. At the same time, the company announced that longtime U.S. top exec Tad Smith is leaving as CEO of Reed Business Information-U.S., effective immediately; RBI CFO John Poulin is now acting CEO for RBI-US, reporting to Global RBI CEO Keith Jones. Smith took over as CEO of the company in late 2005, replacing Jim Casella.
Yes, we’ve danced this mess around a few times already — Reed Elsevier has been wobbling back and forth on how to sell RBI-US or what of it to sell after failing in the latest full-scale effort last year. Reports surfaced last week that new CEO Ian Smith wanted to keep the division, but sell some of the assets. (He could be holding on to the rest in hopes of a better price down the road.)
Reed Elsevier mentioned losing money in the U.S. in today’s earnings report but failed to mention these changes, opting instead to break the news through their own outlet.
Rafat adds: The question is whether they would find buyers. With the breaking up of portfolio books, they have a much better chance with most of them, something they should have done last year when they started with the RBI process. I wrote about the mismanaged process last year here. From the memo sent out by Jones: “While we will be retaining Reed Construction Data US & Canada, RS Means, Variety, Marketcast, LA411 and Buyerzone within RBI