Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Good News for BusinessWeek

So the BusinessWeek "sale watch" continues, with virtually no interest at all from the media for some reason, except for BW's own Jon Fine. He has the latest tidings, which actually are quite good.

Jon reports today that Joe Mansueto "has expressed interest in pursuing a deal for BusinessWeek, individuals familiar with the situation say, and representatives from his Mansueto Ventures are expected to meet with BusinessWeek management at some point in the next several days for a detailed presentation of the magazine and its finances."

This is good news. Mansueto has a long association with BW dating back to the 1980s, when he became the magazine's exclusive provider of mutual fund data, and since then he has gone on to rescue the magazine Fast Company. He's not a slash-and-burn venture capital type, and might actually improve the magazine. Joe is an old colleague of BW's executive editor and BW Online chief John Byrne, who edited Fast Company briefly.

Mansueto's Morningstar Inc. was selected in the late 1980s to provide mutual fund data to BW in preference to Lipper Analytical Services, which had a corner on the business at the time. We liked Morningstar's data so much that we chose Morningstar even though we had to pay for it, and substantially, while we could have gotten Lipper's data for free.

He once was in the running to buy Business 2.0. He failed to pull off the deal and it died.

If I were running a betting pool, I'd put my money on Mansueto. Of course, I've always been a lousy gambler.

One can't overstate the importance of this. Joe is about as close as BW may come to a "white knight." Actually he might even be better than some of the publishing companies that have decided to pass, because he's an entrepreneur with an interest in journalism.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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