Archive for the ‘business magazines’ Category

New Scientist sale is good news for Relx investors

April 15, 2017
New Scientist magazine front cover

New Scientist magazine has been sold for an undisclosed sum

The sale of New Scientist magazine is seen as good news for Relx, an Anglo-Dutch company that has moved from print to online delivery of information in the past 20 years.

The FTSE 100 company was once known as Reed International, and owned paper making and building materials companies such as Crown Paint and Polycell. It then bought IPC Magazines and book publishers and switched its focus to publishing. In 1993, it merged with Elsevier, a Dutch group, to concentrate on academic and professional publishing.

Reed Elsevier sold off both the consumer books and IPC’s consumer magazines, which were seen as low-margin businesses, to concentrate on digital delivery of data and information to academia and business. It held on to trade and business magazine titles, such as Variety and New Scientist, but has spent the past 10 years selling these to invest in digital assets such as Lexis Nexis.

Now, New Scientist has been sold to Kingston Acquisitions, an investment firm led by Sir Bernard Gray. He was part of the £230m buyout of the Times Educational Supplement from News Corp in 2005 by private equity group Exponent. Hopefully, a third of the company’s staff won’t take up an offer of voluntary redundancy, as happened after that deal.

The recent history of Relx and Pearson makes a fascinating comparison. Both were conglomerates in the 1980s that decided to concentrate on publishing and media. However, Pearson always seemed a decade behind Reed. That gap has accelerated since Marjorie Scardino left Pearson. New MD John Fallon has seen Pearson’s share price fall by half in the past five years, while Reed’s has more than doubled. The big mystery is how Fallon has kept hold of his job.

 

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Statist from 1967: worth quoting after Brexit vote

June 29, 2016
A cover from 1967 that could be in the shops today after the Brexit vote: Statist magazine from 24 February 1967

A cover from 1967 that could be in the shops today after the Brexit vote: Statist magazine from 24 February 1967

I mentioned the predilection of Financial Times columnist and editor-in-chief of MoneyWeek Merryn Somerset Webb for quoting a long-defunct weekly magazine, the Statist, a while back. On April 18, she came clean:

Filed away in my basement I have every edition published of The Statist, a financial magazine from the 1960s and early 1970s. I flick through them often to see how things have changed – and how they haven’t. It is amazing how often seemingly new ideas are recycled and how our money gripes stay much the same, whatever the government.

Too true. And now we know the trick to becoming such a successful FT writer. But another question arises: what is Somerset Webb doing with a basement full of such a rare magazine? It’s not exactly the sort of thing that pops up on eBay every week.

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

>>>Profiles of finance magazines at Magforum.com

Ronald Searle explains printer’s jargon

December 22, 2014
Ronald Searle's cartoon glossary to printers' jargon

Ronald Searle’s cartoon glossary to printers’ jargon

Ronald Searle is known for his St Trinians cartoons, but his scratchy style – developed while he was a prisoner of war under the Japanese – brought him fame across the world. This ‘Layman’s guide to the Printer’s Anatomy’ is his take on the jargon of the pressman’s world done for the Inky Way in 1951.

The Inky Way was published by WPN, the company behind World’s Press News and Advertisers Review – the weekly trade paper that was bought up by Michael Heseltine’s Haymarket in 1968 and relaunched, with a focus on the advertising industry because journalists didn’t have any money, as Campaign.   

Searle has no room for ‘nut’ and ‘mutton’, or printer’s lice, but what is a ‘swelled rule’ when it’s out?

 

Statist: a magazine worth quoting

October 18, 2014
Statist magazine from February 1967

Statist magazine from February 1967

The editors at small-circulation magazines are always happy when big papers pick up their stories, so economics weekly  Statist magazine would be chuffed to be referred in the Financial Times (several of these articles also ran in MoneyWeek):

Here’s a quote from the (generally rightwing, and prone to long sentences) Statist magazine from 1962 which sums things up the feeling then, and rather my feeling now: “In an era when the government appears to find itself obliged to tax an individual’s current earnings so highly that it is difficult if not impossible for the industrious able and thrifty person to save a substantial amount of money for himself, it is very wrong that another person who may well be idle, stupid and spendthrift should be in a position to receive a fortune by gifts or inheritance virtually without paying tax at all. (‘Cameron should scrap IHT threshold,’ 5 April 2014)

A long sentence indeed : 76 words. And also this year:

The great swings in the relationships between the likes of profit shares and labour shares take decades to play out. Look back to press reports from the 1960s and you will see many of the same kinds of articles you see in the papers today – in 1963 the (generally rightwing) Statist magazine insisted that a new minimum wage policy was a must and that government was “irrevocably committed to doing something for the low paid”. (‘Workers of the world will unite,’ 8 February)

While last autumn,

In the mid-1960s an article in the Statist magazine explained to London readers that the tax would “reverse the trend of soaring land values and reduce housing costs”. The writer was sure that support for [a site value tax] was such that “a concerted effort at this stage should carry the day”. It did not. But the idea has remained. (‘The perfect tax?,’ 28 September)

That same month:

In 1967, Paul Bareau, an eminent journalist of the era, wrote in the Statist magazine about the “pangs of modest deflation” hitting the UK. He called for “re-expansion” via all the usual methods – low base rates, a “lenient attitude” towards the commercial banks and a new round of government support to various industries. That worked out, as it likely will this time, all too well. By 1970, a mere three years later and well before the oil price shocks, inflation in the UK was running at about 8 per cent. Whoops. (‘A bad day at the office for Mark Carney,’ 7 September 2013)

You’ll notice the pattern by now:

A row raged in the pages of the Statist magazine in the early 1960s after “distinguished chartist” AG Ellinger declared that in the idea that the stock market would keep their money safe, “the public has been sold a pup”. (‘Ross Goobey’s speech resonates 50 years on,’ 10 November 2012)

Yes, it’s back in the sixties again:

‘Back in 1962 most European bankers were mad for monetary union. They were planning for it and seeing it, as Statist magazine said at the time, as “part of the writing on the wall”’ (‘In spite of debt crises, Germany is in the zone, 4 December 2010)

And again:

‘This outperformance isn’t a new thing … Statist magazine noted that in the decade to 1967 the average trust made 175% even as global markets returned a mere 75%.’ (‘Cheers for the product, boos for the charges,’ 2 October 2010)

And, for my last example:

‘You will not have heard of Mr F.M. Osborn. However, I feel I know him rather well. Why? Because I have a copy of an article he wrote in … The Statist.’ (‘Liars’ self-cert charter could have a bitter result,’ 25 September 2010)

In fact, FT Money writer and MoneyWeek editor Merryn Somerset Webb has sought inspiration or evidence from Statist no less than eight times in four years in her FT articles. It’s just a shame that the Statist, which looked like the Economist, closed several decades ago. But, then, what goes around comes around in the world of finance and a good article is always worth quoting, even if it is 50 years old.

News magazines profiled

IPC sells 4 more magazines

October 6, 2010

IPC Media has sold four more of its specialist titles – Aeroplane, MiniWorld, Ships Monthly and Park Home & Holiday Caravan – to Kelsey Publishing.

Slick Economist cover attacked

July 5, 2010

Economist’s Obama BP cover and the original image used on the NY Times website

The Economist has run into trouble in the US over its latest cover about BP, the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the Obama crisis. They’ve cropped two people out of an image to leave Barack Obama pondering alone in front of a rig in the background. There would have been no problem doing it graphically – and it’s a very literal position to attack such digital manipulation – but the US president’s spin doctors are no doubt trying to get in and rubbish the piece before it hurts. The agenda becomes the cover and not the damage done to Obama.

The Economist has been able to do no wrong in the US for decades, but opening itself to such criticism could be tricky – but then the ‘newspaper’ is a big boy and should be able to take care of itself.

I’ve seen figures suggesting sales at BP stations in the US are 5%-20% down because of a boycott (the high figure being in the Gulf of Mexico states hit by the slick), so the magazine will be hoping none of that rubs off.

Rivals try challenging the Economist

Lloyd’s List publisher Informa talking to Springer

November 24, 2009

Lloyd’s List publisher Informa has begun talks about taking over German rival Springer Science and Business Media. The idea was sparked by UK private equity groups Candover and Cinven trying to sell a stake of as much as 49 per cent in the German group for about €400m, says the Financial Times.

Then two groups have been the subject of merger speculation for several years with Informa, as one of the world’s largest organisers of conferences, being an ideal fit with Springer.

Reed Elsevier chief quits

November 11, 2009

New Scientist and Variety publisher Reed Elsevier’s share price has taken another hit – down 3% today – on news that its chief executive is parting company. The Telegraph says Ian Smith’s ‘shock departure’ was down to a lack of experience of the media industry during a recession.

The publisher’s shares are down 11% over the year, while rival Pearson’s have risen 40% in the same time.

Future of China’s Caijing in doubt

October 12, 2009

The future of Caijing – China’s most influential business publication – is in doubt after its general manager Wu Chuanhui resigned and rumours flew of the editor and other staff quitting, the FT reports.

Business Week ‘worth $1’

July 13, 2009

McGraw-Hill is lining up Business Week for sale, but the 80-year-old financial magazine might only fetch $1, says the Financial Times, because of the extent of its losses and the recession.