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Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter Sold

Are Layoffs Ahead?

(UPDATED) A variety of sources are reporting that Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter have been sold to group led by James Finkelstein and Pluribus Capital Management. Rupert's son, Lachlan Murdoch reportedly dropped out of the purchase group at the 11th hour.  Also included in the sale are Adweek, Mediaweek, Brandweek and Backstage.

image from www.amaxtalent.com
Estimates of a total purchase price vary, but $70 million is the most common number given for all 6 publications. Editor & Publisher will reportedly be shuttered as part of the deal and a number of staffers from all publications have been summoned to mid-day meetings. Surprisingly, Billboard is one of the group's healthier publications and may experience the lightest staff cuts.

A letter to staff from Nielson Pres. Greg Farrer via Gawker:

Dear Colleagues,

Today, we announced that Nielsen Business Media has reached an agreement with e5 Global Media Holdings, LLC, a new company formed jointly by Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners, for the sale of eight brands in the Media and Entertainment Group, including Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, The Clio Awards, Backstage, Billboard, Film Journal International and The Hollywood Reporter. e5 Global Media Holdings has also agreed to acquire our Film Expo business, which includes the ShoWest, ShowEast, Cinema Expo International and CineAsia trade shows.

In addition, we've made the decision to cease operations for Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews.

This move will allow us to strengthen investment in our core businesses – those parts of our portfolio at have the greatest potential for growth – and ensure our long-term success. We remain committed to building our trade show group and affiliated brands. These assets continue to be a key part of The Nielsen Company's overall portfolio and we strongly believe they are positioned to grow as the economy recovers. In addition, we'll continue to assess the strategic fit of our remaining portfolio of publications.

As a result of these decisions, many of our friends and colleagues within these businesses will be leaving the company or will begin to transition to the new ownership immediately. These venerable brands have long been an important part of our Business Media family, and we are pleased that e5 will continue to capitalize on the brands' potential. The transition is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Pluribus Capital was founded in 2009 by James Finkelstein, George Green and Matthew Doull to focus on acquiring and managing industry leading media properties with high growth potential, particularly those with strong brand recognition across multiple platforms including digital, print and events. Guggenheim Partners is a privately held, diversified financial services firm. Both Pluribus and Guggenheim have strong track records of successfully managing investments in a variety of companies.

I want to take this opportunity to offer heartfelt thanks to our colleagues who will be leaving the company for their dedication and commitment to Nielsen over the years. Please join me in wishing them well in their future endeavors.

Regards,
Greg Farrar
President
Nielsen Business Media


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