Friday, November 28, 1997

11/28/97: Thomson, Barns&Noble

Thomson Purchases Idd Print Publishing Assets
Comments From Online Bookselling Forum
Matthew Benber Is For Sale
Harold Evans Will Join Mort Zuckerman At Daily News
Barnes And Noble & Amazon.Com


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 19, 1997 Thomson Financial Services announced today that it has acquired the print publishing assets of IDD Enterprises, L.P. (IDD), which will be folded into its Securities Data Publishing (SDP) unit. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The purchase includes the flagship publication Investment Dealers' Digest, the premier magazine which has covered Wall Street, financial techniques, and organizational strategies for professional financiers for more than 60 years; Mergers & Acquisitions Journal; nine newsletters: Private Equity Week; Private Placement Letter; Mergers & Acquisitions Report; Bank Loan Report; Going Public: The IPO Reporter; Eliot Sharp's Financing News; Web Finance; Asset-Backed Securities Week; and Mortgage-Backed Securities Letter; and two directories: Mutual Fund Directory and Corporate Syndicate Personnel. "The acquisition of this venerable product family complements our existing publishing portfolio and fills out our coverage of the capital markets. This acquisition also provides SDP with significant leverage for expansion in the institutional asset management and equity and debt underwriting markets," stated SDP President and CEO, Bruce Morris.

Part of The Thomson Corporation (TTC), a $7.7-billion company based in Toronto, Thomson Financial Services employs more than 5,500 people in nearly 40 offices around the world. The principal activity of TTC is specialized information and publishing worldwide. In addition, TTC has important interests in newspaper publishing in North America and in leisure travel in the United Kingdom. The Corporation had sales of US$7.7 billion in 1996 and has some 50,000 staff members.

Internet bookstores are helping to deliver purchase information to the marketplace, and could soon be wreaking havoc on the concept of foreign rights. But whether they are expanding the customer base for books or simply stealing sales away from other channels is still up in the air, according to panelists at a public forum held last week in New York. Random House president Phil Pfeffer said he sees the emergence of Internet bookselling as "expanding opportunities, not cannibalizing opportunities." Mary Engstrom, VP of publishers affairs for, argued that the Internet is expanding the U.S. book market by providing access to three attractive audiences: customers outside the U.S., consumers living in remote areas of the country where there is no local bookstore, and the new generation of computer-literate and book-shy adults.

Pfeffer said Internet bookstores, as well as the sites operated by publishers themselves, "have a significant influence" on book sales by providing information consumers need to make purchase decisions. At this early point, those sales "more often than not" are still being realized at traditional bricks and mortar bookstores, he said. Engstrom said; at the end of 1996, overseas sales made up 33% of total sales. Online selling and its need for speedy delivery has also expedited the migration toward drop-shipping, a concept that many bookstore owners had heretofore been disinclined to adopt (preferring instead to bring their customers back to the store to pick up orders). Panelists also agreed that Internet bookselling will cause a "major upheaval" in the rights market. "What we have come to know is going to change significantly," Pfeffer said.

The problem has already arisen in the U.K., where "U.S. books are now available next to the U.K. versions, and at lower prices," Freeman noted. And U.K. publishers who "paid a certain fee thinking they own that market" have every reason to be disturbed by the prospect, Freeman said. According to Engstrom, sold at least one copy of more than 80% of all in-print lists at several major publishing houses in the third quarter of 1997. One audience member called the figure "astounding."'s commission-based "Associates Program" has 15,000 members that include a variety of small publishers but is comprised mostly of companies outside the book industry, she said.
(Mediacentral-Cowles Business Media)

Times Mirror is evaluating business options for legal publisher Matthew Bender & Co and the medical professional publisher, Mosby Inc. Alternatives under consideration include a sale, a spinoff to shareholders and/or swaps for other strategic assets.


Harold Evans, the colorful president and publisher of Random House's trade group, will leave the publishing house to head up Mortimer Zuckerman's publications, which include The Daily News of New York, U.S. News & World Report and The Atlantic Monthly. Zuckerman, in naming Evans editorial director and vice chairman on Tuesday, said that Evans would essentially take over a large portion of his duties at the various publications. Evans will have a say in everything from hiring to story ideas to design at the magazines and at The Daily News. The appointment of Evans, a 69-year-old London native, signals that Zuckerman is stepping up efforts to take on The News's tabloid rival, The New York Post, particularly after recent declines in the circulation of The News' thick Sunday paper.

The arrival of Evans into the battle between the papers has the added intrigue of putting him head to head with an old enemy, Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Post. Evans resigned as editor of The Times of London in 1982 after resisting efforts by Murdoch, the newspaper's owner, to force his removal. "I think it tells you that Mort wants an impact player," said Mitchell Moss, the director of the New York University Urban Research Center. "He wants to put The News on the map." Evans leaves Random House, where he ran some of the publisher's most prestigious imprints, with a somewhat uneven seven-year record. While credited with significantly raising the profile of the publishing house, some publishing executives say he lacked the management and business skills required to run an imprint. Several executives said Evans lacked an increasingly essential understanding of the bottom line. Worrying about the business side, industry insiders say, simply was not Evan's strength, though he brought a passion and glamour to the position, enhanced in part by his wife, Tina Brown, the editor in chief of The New Yorker.

"It was not fully understanding the chemistry of the business, rather than not caring," said another executive who also spoke on condition of anonymity. At Random House, Evans was replaced by Ann Godoff, editor in chief of Random House Adult Trade Books and executive vice president of the Random House Trade Publishing Group which includes Random House Adult Trade Books, Villard Books and the Modern Library. Ms. Godoff, who was promoted last summer from editorial director to editor in chief -- a position Evans had previously held -- will carry out Evan's same responsibilities under a different title, president and editor in chief. Net traffic for small bookstores


Barnes and Noble reported that purchases from the top 10 US publishers had declined to 46 percent from 74 percent three years ago. This represents a significant shift to independents, small publishers and university presses and is reflective of a broadening of consumer interest to what used to be 'fringe' subjects. and are competing for an estimated $156MM in on line booksales for the fourth quarter.

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