Bloomberg L.P. officially became the buyer of BusinessWeek today, as expected. Here's a memo to the BW staff by the soon-to-be-former owner, and here's a Bloomberg press release.
A few things are left unclear in the official pronouncements, and they're not minor:
- How many people get fired?
- What happens to BW's bureaus?
- And, of course, obviously, what exactly will the new BW-Bloomberg look like?
This paragraph from the Bloomberg release goes a little bit beyond corporate-talk:
“Bloomberg looks forward to becoming steward of the great BusinessWeek franchise that McGraw-Hill (MHP) has built over the past 80 years,” said [Norm] Pearlstine. “We are uniquely positioned to preserve and build the market presence of BusinessWeek. Our shared values and complementary resources give us the editorial and technological expertise, data, analysis and depth of reporting to create a new model for the business weekly.” Now, this doesn't entirely exclude the possibility that Bloomberg would jettison the entire staff, as Women's Wear Daily reported the other day, but it certainly undermines that thesis.
That's the bottom line, obviously. The big fear from the outset was that BW might fall into the clutches of a viperish private equity type. That's not happening, so this turns out to be one of the better possible outcomes. But the jury is still out as to exactly what "becoming steward of the great BusinessWeek franchise" is going to mean.