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Reed pulls out of Australian magazine publishing

Tuesday, 27 March 2012
By Print21

Giant B2B publisher Reed Business Information has put its local magazine and online lead generation businesses up for sale as part of a planned exit from print media.

Jeremy Knibbs, CEO of RBI Australia, said: "The business has been transformed over the last decade, embracing the opportunities of web-based advertising services and delivering strong growth in revenues and margin. RBI has been a good parent to us and we look forward under new ownership to build on the business’ success in developing profitable multi-media advertising models,” he said.

Some of the 19 local magazines up for sale are the well-known titles Money Management, Australian Doctor, B&T, NewScientist, and Manufacturers’ Monthly. When contacted by Print21 the Australian publishing arm of RBI had “no further comments” on the sale. However, following the company’s hard-nosed decisions both here and in the USA, the magazines face an uncertain future if no buyers appear.

The announcement comes two years to the month after the publisher’s exit from the B2B construction sector of the magazine market when it shut down the Construction Contractor magazine and affiliated niche websites. In 2008 parent company Reed Elsevier tried to wholesale its global RBI business, but the idea was scrubbed due to the GFC.

In 2009 it began to sell off individual US titles. It managed to sell 21 titles by April 2010, but closed down the remaining 23 trade publications after no suitors came forward.

At that time it had declared its commitment to keeping Variety, its show business bible in circulation. However, the glitzy mag that has covered show biz and Hollywood for over a century is now up for sale. Reed has owned Variety since 1987.

RBI chief executive Mark Kelsey said that the decision follows the company’s sale and withdrawal from other US business publications during the past three years.

"With RBI’s increasing focus on data services, and the sale of our other US print magazines, it now makes sense for us to sell the business. Variety has an incredibly talented team who have successfully innovated and expanded the franchise in industry news and analysis. I have no doubt the business will continue to thrive under new ownership,” said Kelsey.

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