Nielsen Selling Billboard, Shutting Down Two Brands

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Publisher and information provider the Nielsen Co said on Thursday it is selling Billboard music magazine and seven sister titles and discontinuing two others, including the journalism review Editor & Publisher.

Billboard, along with daily entertainment trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter and five smaller publications, will be acquired by a newly formed media investment group, e5 Global Media LLC.

The company is a joint venture of Pluribus Capital Management, a new private equity partner, and Guggenheim Partners, a financial services firm with more than $100 billion in assets under supervision, Nielsen said.

Financial details were not disclosed.

The deal, which is scheduled to close by Dec. 31, comes less than two months after Nielsen announced it was laying off 1,250 employees worldwide to reduce its workforce by 10 percent.

Billboard, one of the most venerable brands in showbiz publishing, is perhaps best known for its weekly music sales charts. The Hollywood Reporter has operated since 1930. Both publications have suffered through a succession of management shake-ups and cost-cutting moves in recent years.

Nielsen, the world’s largest market research firm, changed its name from VNU Group last January, shortly before former General Electric Co (GE.N) executive David Calhoun was put in place by its private equity owners to run the company.

Nielsen said the U.S.-based publications being sold to e5 Global Media will remain at their current locations in New York City and Los Angeles.

Jimmy Finkelstein of Pluribus Capital, who will become chairman of e5, and Guggenheim Managing Partner Ted Boehly, said in a statement they will pour more capital into the struggling publications.

“These are unique brands that are already leaders in their respective fields, and with the additional financial and strategic resources that we will provide, they will be positioned to add enhanced content across their print, online and new media channels,” they said.

In addition to Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, e5 will acquire Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, The Clio Awards, Backstage and Film Journal.

The company also will acquire the Film Expo business, which includes the annual ShoWest, ShowEast, Cinema Expo International and CineAsia trade shows.

But two other publications in the Nielsen Business Group are being shuttered — Kirkus Reviews and Editor & Publisher.

In a joint venture with Nielsen, Reuters republishes Hollywood Reporter and Billboard content.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Richard Chang)