NEW YORK (Reuters) – McGraw-Hill Cos Inc (MHP.N) is leaning toward selling its money-losing BusinessWeek magazine to Bloomberg LP, although another bidder could still make a higher offer, a person familiar with the matter said.
A deal still could take weeks, or could fall apart because of depressed magazine advertising and uncertainty in the financing market; but BusinessWeek executives think that Bloomberg would be the best fit, the source said on Tuesday.
Despite their positive feelings toward Bloomberg, the executives are not dismissing the possibility that another bidder could deliver a superior offer, the source said.
Private equity firms OpenGate Capital and Platinum Equity are part of the bidding, as is ZelnickMedia, the investment firm owned by Take Two Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O) Chairman Strauss Zelnick.
Former Wall Street Journal Publisher Gordon Crovitz is advising Zelnick but would not be involved in running the magazine if ZelnickMedia won the auction, another source with knowledge of the bid said.
A price for BusinessWeek could not be learned.
McGraw-Hill considers Bloomberg, a privately held provider of news and financial data, as the best buyer for BusinessWeek because it could capitalize on the marriage of two brand names well known in financial circles, the sources said.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because the sale process has not been made public.
Bloomberg owns Bloomberg Markets, a financial news magazine that produces feature stories that often run much longer than the shorter pieces on the Bloomberg newswire.
That magazine and BusinessWeek could be blended to make a title that would expand Bloomberg’s presence beyond its financial data clients and reach a mainstream online audience.
McGraw-Hill has owned the 80-year-old BusinessWeek since its inception. It draws nearly 5 million readers weekly to its website.
McGraw-Hill said in July that it was considering “strategic options” for BusinessWeek as its ad sales deteriorated, indicating that it might sell the magazine. The company hired investment bank Evercore Partners Inc (EVR.N) to handle the sale, a source told Reuters in July.
McGraw-Hill Chief Executive Terry McGraw told Bloomberg News earlier this month that 93 parties had indicated interest in the magazine. Bloomberg LP, which competes with Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO) (TRI.N), submitted its bid for BusinessWeek in September, BusinessWeek has reported.
“BusinessWeek has generated a meaningful level of interest,” McGraw spokesman Steven Weiss said in an e-mailed statement. “We are pleased that the process, which will take some time to complete, continues to go well.”
Zelnick was not immediately available for comment. A Bloomberg spokeswoman, Platinum and OpenGate all declined comment. (Reporting by Anupreeta Das and Robert MacMillan)