It’s Official! Merry Announces CQ Sale to Economist Group

First on FishbowlDC: On June 19th, FishbowlDC broke the news that the Economist Group (parent company of Roll Call) was set to acquire Congressional Quarterly. Now, our sources have confirmed that CQ President Robert Merry will announce to his staff that the publication will indeed be sold to the Economist/Roll Call at 10 a.m. this morning.

The CQ all-staff meeting is being held now at the Fairfax at Embassy Row Hotel on Massachusetts Ave. – the location for many of CQ‘s annual meetings and Holiday Party celebrations in recent years.

Meanwhile, at Roll Call, Publisher Peter Cherukuri has called his team to “the 4th floor conference room for an important staff meeting that will begin at 10a.m. this morning.”

UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: Literally while Merry is telling his staff that Roll Call has acquired their publication, Roll Call‘s press release hit the wires. Check it out after the jump.

UPDATE 10:18 a.m.: Merry Moving On – Merry announces that rather than opting for a consulting gig with the new merged organization, he will move on after 22 years with CQ.

UPDATE 10:22 a.m.: Economist Group CEO Andrew Rashbass takes the mic at the CQ meeting.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m.: Rashbass wraps with a “merit over ethnicity, background and gender” message for his vision.

UPDATE 10:52 a.m.: Mills Upped: Mike Mills announced as the new editorial director over the merged group.

UPDATE 10:54 a.m.: Those that will not have a job with Roll Call-CQ have already been informed. “Good news. If you haven’t been told that you do not have a job, then you do.”

Official press release after the jump…

Washington DC, July 21, 2009 – Roll Call Group today announced it has agreed to acquire Congressional Quarterly from the Times Publishing Company. Under the terms of the agreement, Roll Call, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Economist Group, will purchase CQ to form a new company to be known as the CQ-Roll Call Group.

“We are delighted to welcome Congressional Quarterly to Roll Call,” said Laurie Battaglia, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Roll Call Group, who will become the executive leader of the new merged enterprise.

“The new CQ-Roll Call Group will have the largest and most experienced newsroom covering Washington and will be the leader in providing insight and analysis about the workings of Congress,” Battaglia said. “CQ and Roll Call are both highly regarded for unbiased, authoritative journalism and excellence.”

“The Times Publishing Company takes great pride in the success of Congressional Quarterly, and takes great pleasure in knowing that it has a very bright future as part of The Economist Group,” said Paul Tash, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Times. He said the Times is retaining its Governing Magazine division in D.C.

Each company has a storied and distinct history covering Congress and Washington politics and policy. Since 1945, CQ has been the “publication of record” providing factual, unbiased coverage of congressional activity. In recent years, CQ has been at the forefront of developing Internet services that provide real-time intelligence on the workings of Congress.

Roll Call, founded in 1955 and acquired by the Economist Group in 1992, has been at the center of the Capitol Hill community providing a look into the people, politics and personalities that drive the legislative process. This focus on community has led to strategic expansion into trade association-based grassroots mobilization with the acquisition of Capitol Advantage in 2008.

The CQ-Roll Call Group intends to maintain each company’s unique editorial voice, and thus there are no current plans to eliminate any products. In addition, the great majority of the CQ staff will join the merged organization.

Robert W. Merry, President and Editor-in-Chief of CQ for the past 12 years, will not be retained by the merged company. “As in many such instances of two companies coming together,” Merry said, “one CEO inevitably becomes extraneous. In this situation, that’s me.” He will pursue other publishing and journalistic opportunities.

Congressional Quarterly was represented by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., a New York City-based investment bank that specializes in the media, information, marketing services and related technology industries.

Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009.