Hearst Corp., which has been fairly quiet on the M&A front recently, may have decided that now is the time to dive in. Citing unidentified sources, the NYP’s Keith Kelly says that Hearst has $1 billion saved up for possible purchases. No word about any targets or deals in the works, however, the speculation is rising since Hearst named former investment banker Mitchell Scherzer as CFO. He succeeds Ronald Doerfler,
who is retiring,who will remain as SVP of finance and administration and serve as a trustee and board member. Hearst doesn’t seem to be hurting as much as other mag publishers, like Time Inc. and Conde Nast, which are in the midst of waves of layoffs. Kelly’s sources say that not only is Hearst debt-free, it also can boast about $7 billion in revenues, though it’s not clear how that compares to last year.
It’s not likely that Hearst will be looking for any big editorial properties to buy. The company has been concentrating more to trying to look forward on the technology front, by spending at least six figures on Esquire’s augmented reality issue that brought a degree of interactivity to its December print issue. It has also invested in e-reader by incubating a Kindle-like e-book reader with FirstPaper and investing in E-Ink.