Tom Lowry, BusinessWeek’s senior media reporter, who is also filling in on Jon Fine’s media blog while he’s on sabbatical (there may not be a magazine for him to come back to), noted yesterday:
“That an announcement regarding the sale of BusinessWeek is expected within the next few days, say executives familiar with the situation.”
Shira Ovide of the Wall Street Journal echoed Lowry today by quoting sources close to the negotiations:
“Bloomberg LP, is likely to emerge as the buyer, according to people with knowledge of the talks.”
Ovide also foreshadowed what could be widespread layoffs for BusinessWeek staffers once a prospective deal is finalized:
“Relatively little money is expected to change hands in any sale. The people said final-stage negotiations have focused less on the purchase price than on whether McGraw-Hill or the new owner would be responsible for paying severance to the BusinessWeek staffers expected to lose their jobs after a sale.”
We’ve heard rumors about plans to cut BusinessWeek staff by 20% for some time and it appears that the sale would make large cuts a reality according to Rafat Ali, who has been following the BusinessWeek bidding closely for PaidContent.org.
“Bloomberg already has the machinery running, ” noted Ali to RaceTalk. “I think maybe they will retain some big name columnists and investigative reporters but the rest will be disposed of.”
Ali, like other media outlets, speculates that most of the cuts will be on the print side of the operation, although he doesn’t believe all Web positions are safe.
“Print for obvious reasons will see most of the layoffs and I expect we’ll see the Web staff – not the Website – merged with Bloomberg.com, so some layoffs there as well,” he added.
However, contrary to some other industry pundits, he doesn’t believe Bloomberg can simply swap in writers from Bloomberg Markets Magazine.
“Some replacements will come from Bloomberg Markets Magazine, although both are different mags. ‘Markets’ is more for financial profession and BusinessWeek is more for the general business reader,” he concluded.