RBI Warns of Layoffs, Magazine Closures in 2010
In a year-end memo obtained by the website paidContent, current RBI CEO John Poulin (pictured), who moved up from CFO when his predecessor, Tad Smith, left the company last summer, said that no one has stepped up to buy the entire package. As a result, RBI is in "advanced discussions to sell a number of titles to separate purchasers and, if these are satisfactorily concluded, expect to make announcements on these sales in the next few months." As for the future of the magazines RBI can't sell, you can guess: The memo promises "title closures and job losses across the business during the first half of the New Year."
RBI's plans could deal a major blow to the publishing industry, as the company owns and operates Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and School Library Journal, trade magazines which have weathered the brunt of their parent company's long-running sales declines. The closure talk also comes on the heels of Nielsen's shutdown of Kirkus Reviews, which published its last issue on Friday. (There is talk that Kirkusmay have some interested buyers, but the trade magazine's managing editor denied there was any news to report.)
Clearly, based on Poulin's year-end missive, any interested buyers will be able to scoop up available magazines at bargain-basement prices. But for those left behind to face inevitable layoffs, the sound of a new year ringing in just got a lot more hollow.