So what do we know? The deadline for any interested parties to place a bid for the magazine is tomorrow. And Fine knows of at least seven potential bidders who have gotten debriefed by BusinessWeek execs and the management of the magazine’s owner, McGraw-Hill:
“They are New York Magazine owner Bruce Wasserstein; Fast Company and Inc. owner Joe Mansueto; and four private equity firms: Platinum Equity, Warburg Pincus, OpenGate Capital, and ZelnickMedia. The seventh player is Bloomberg LP, which despite having previously rebuffed McGraw-Hill in talks regarding a deal for BusinessWeek, apparently got very interested very quickly and is expected to meet with BusinessWeek management Monday, Sept. 14.”
Fine also said there are as many as three other unnamed parties who have shown interest, although he has been unable to dig up any info about them. (Know something? Send us an email.)
Fine isn’t the only one tracking the sale. In an article today, The New York Times said there was more initial interest in BusinessWeek “before buyers had a chance to comb through the magazine’s finances.” The ailing magazine lost $43 million last year, and a buyer will presumably have to assume a bulk of BusinessWeek‘s $31.9 million in debt, the Times said, although Fine put BusinessWeek‘s losses last year at only $20 million.
Fine also refuted the Times‘ claim that “in January, it announced its fourth round of layoffs in two years. This time, a quarter of the editorial staff will be cut, along with workers in other departments, for a total of 85 of BusinessWeek‘s 421 jobs.”
“There was no announcement last January that McGraw-Hill would lay off a quarter of BusinessWeek‘s editorial staff,” wrote Fine, who should know since he works there. “And there was no layoff of this size in 2008 or 2009.”
Hopefully, the sale will conclude before Fine takes off for his recently announced six-month sabbatical with wife Laurel Touby. We’re sure he wouldn’t want to miss it.
Handy Primer On BusinessWeek Sale Process —BusinessWeek
BusinessWeek, on the Block and Ailing —New York Times
Earlier: Mansueto Eyes BusinessWeek