Earlier this week, we learned that publisher NewBay Media had picked up three trade titles from Reed Business Information, Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TWICE, for an undisclosed amount.
When any publication is sold, the obvious questions surface. Namely, what will happen to the staff? (Just one look at the bloobath at post-Bloomberg BusinessWeek can tip you off to the type of gutting that can occur after a sale.) One tipster told us the staff of the three sold titles would learn their fates by the end of the year. But we had a chance to speak with NewBay’s CEO, Steve Palm (left), who told us that immediate cuts were not expected.
“These titles are complementary to our existing business and we respect and admire the brands and the team that have built these brands and are continuing to work on them,” Palm said. “Our short-term plan is that the team is going to remain where they are right now. We’ve worked in agreement with Reed so that they’ll continue to work out of their existing offices until the end of February and then in March we will locate them in a facility that we’re currently exploring specific locations. In terms of the staff, we’re pleased with where we are at and we see it as complementary. We continue to work with the managers to ensure that we’ve got what we need.”
And as for those rumors about employees getting offers from NewBay by the end of the year? Palm says there are contractual issues that need to be ironed out soon, so staffers will be getting letters “formalizing” their relationship with their new employer.
What’s more, in response to questions about cutting down staff, Palm emphasized the fact that the company may actually be looking to hire as it transitions its new titles into the company.
“We’re working with management to make determinations on what is needed and what is required and what is there,” Palm said of his company’s newest acquisitions. “It may be that there are requirements for additional support. We’re certainly looking at hiring people to help support these new properties here at NewBay. There’s a lot of transitional issues including hiring staff in our accounting, finance, circulation and Web development organizations to support it. That may come from the team itself. This isn’t a cut and dry thing.”
“The message I’d like to put out there is that we’re going to be hiring some people,” Palm added. “Obviously we’ll be cognizant and prudent given the last 18 months, but we’re extremely excited about these new enterprises and the opportunities they present for growth.”
Throughout our conversation, Palm frequently said the three pubs, B&C, Multichannel News and TWICE, are “complementary” to NewBay’s existing portfolio, which focuses on five key vertical markets — broadcast/video, professional audio, the music industry, AV/electronic and K-12 education. “They fit in with our current portfolio in two market segments that we focus on,” Palm said. “These new brands focus around broadcast and secondarily around our AV consumer electronics space. Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News have always covered the content of broadcasting and cable and our existing portfolio included TV Technology and TV Broadcast, [which] have primarily focused around the technology of television broadcasting.”
But although these new acquisitions are complementary, Palm said the chances of integrating editorial staffs, Web sites or content between new and old was probably not a possibility because of their vast differences. “While they are in the same vertical, they have very different audiences, very different advertisers and very different editorial content,” he said. “I certainly am hoping we can find synergies and one plus one equals three, but I don’t think that we would integrate Web sites. I think they are too different to be valued by the readers or the advertisers if we combine them.”
So, there doesn’t seem like there will be any job eliminations because of redundancies. Based on what Palm told us, it looks like the jobs of the staffers at the recently acquired titles are safe for now, and as the pubs make their transition to their new owner, we hope there will be more hirings than layoffs. After all, any hiring news is good news after the year that we’ve had.