As observers debate whether the sale of BusinessWeek will fetch more than $1, McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP) Chairman and CEO Terry McGraw is claiming that a total of 93 potential buyers have shown interest in the magazine, Bloomberg reports . But a source familiar with the situation told paidContent that of those 93, the number interested in a second look appear to be well less than half — and another source has said it’s already down to just one serious buyer. BW’s own Jon Fine has reported fewer than a half-dozen actually looked at the books.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, the closest McGraw got to offering specifics was to say equity, hedge funds and strategic buyers were involved. No word on whether anyone made any substantive offers or how many of the group progressed to a second or third or final look. Banker Evercore Partners was in touch with four potential bidders, according to Fine: OpenGate Capital, Bruce Wasserstein, Platinum Equity, Warburg Pincus — Mansueto was also eventually added to the list of interested parties — and that group was expected to shrink quickly.
Last month, another possible buyer surfaced: Strauss Zelnick’s ZelnickMedia, again according to Fine, who noted that nine companies in total had looked at BW’s books. (Zelnick told paidContent at the time he wouldn’t respond to rumors.) Meanwhile, BW experienced a 33 percent drop in ad sales to $77.8 million during H109 versus the same period last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.
A rep for McGraw-Hill said that the company didn’t have any information beyond the CEO’s interview.