Monday, July 21, 2008

ENR to buy Building Design + Construction?

Well, not exactly, although if media reports are accurate, McGraw-Hill (which publishes Engineering News-Record and Architectural Record, among many other publications) is interested in buying Reed Business Information (which publishes Building Design + Construction, among many other publications).

Articles posted this morning on and yesterday on the London Sunday Telegraph web site listed McGraw-Hill as one of two dozen companies that are interested in buying Reed Business Information, Reed Elsevier's trade magazine and information division, which includes the aforementioned titles as well as magazines that cover the electronics, gifts and furnishings, hospitality, manufacturing, media, and printing industries. Indeed, RBI publishes titles such as Variety, Broadcasting and Cable, Casual Living, and more.

The move would boost McGraw-Hill's already strong presence in the AEC publishing market. Unfortunately, it could result in streamlined operations for the folks who work on BD+C and other RBI publications as any redundancies would be absorbed into McGraw-Hill's existing operations. I will say, however, from first-hand experience that when Mercor Media bought ZweigWhite in 2004, the initial layoffs never touched ZweigWhite's publishing operations and instead were limited to things like accounting, sales, and customer service.

What would it mean for the A/E industry? Well, theoretically, McGraw-Hill could leverage its different publications to offer lower ad rates. It would also give A/E firms comfort in knowing that some of the industry's leading publications would remain in the hands of people who know the industry.

At this point, all of this is only conjecture, as interested parties are still submitting initial bids.


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