Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The BusinessWeek Suitor-Numbers Game

Bloomberg yesterday reported the surprising news that BusinessWeek was drawing the interest of 93 potential buyers. The basis was a televised interview with the CEO, Terry McGraw.

Paid Content immediately tossed cold water on that, and Business Insider widghed in with a report saying that BusinessWeek morale is, surprise surprise, "dangerously low."

Hell, they'd hardly be human if morale wasn't "dangerously low." After all, McGraw Hill is pulling the plug on the magazine just as it celebrates its 80th birthday, which Terry is commemorating by throwing the magazine to the wolves.

As for how many wolves there are, whether there are 93 or "half that" or whatever, I think that you have to pay close attention to what Terry actually said.

The question was "can you give us an idea of who it would best fit with?"

The answer was:
In terms of taking a look at options, the universe of people that were interested in taking a look were about 93. So, you know, yes, everybody's involved, whether it's hedge funds, private equity, strategic buyers, uh, you know, there's a lot of interest.
Since no clarification was asked or given, the "93" could have consisted of people dropping by to scour BW's books, or individuals just calling Terry or emailing to express interest.

Terry is a superb obfuscator, and he did a fine job of muddying the waters.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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