So someone finally comes out with the news that Bruce Wasserstein has dropped out of his bid for BusinessWeek, more than a month after I reported it. The other one to drop out, I can now confirm, is Warburg Pincus. These were supposedly the two serious players in the bidding, but after the first round of presentations by Evercore, the banker, these two parties never gave it serious consideration, media reports notwithstanding. Wasserstein owns The Deal and a big stake in Penton, both troubled, and has too much on his hands to worry about another troubled pub.
David adds: Terry McGraw offered no further clarity on his “other 91 friends” — or whoever is still interested in buying BusinessWeek — during his appearance at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XVIII conference. The chairman and CEO went on for 40 minutes discussing issues related to Standard & Poor’s issues and the company’s education businesses with great care and detail. Collectively, McGraw spent about two minutes on media.
Asked for an update on the company’s plans to rid itself of BusinessWeek, McGraw said that the sale can be seen as part of a process to reduce its media holdings over 20 years.
“We started to migrate out of some media businesses back in the ’80s,” he said. “When we start talking about focusing on essential markets, building scale, growing globally, embracing technology, we are looking at all opportunities. No decisions have been made. I need to first see what the alternatives are and how meaningful they are. Still, the interest has been enormous.” During the last few seconds of his presentation, he did provide some specifics about the media segment, noting that revenues are expected to drop between 8 and 9 percent this year, though he didn’t attribute that drop to any particular publication. (The webcast will be available for replay later in the day.)