Sunday, July 13, 2008

Media Week28

Some headlines from this past weeks publishing and media actitivity.

The Canadian Publishing industry sees a slight decline from the prior year: A report from the government agency released Thursday said operating revenues from the book publishing industry in Canada edged down 1.2% in 2006 to $2.1 billion. NationalPost.

The NZ Herald reports that New Zealand sees an increase in booksales but is the future ominous? Last year, the New Zealand consumer spend on books and similar merchandise topped $1 billion for the first time - capping off a trend of phenomenal growth that seems, for the moment, immune to the speed wobbles hitting other retailers.

Informa Deal News: At a function held by private equity investor Alpinvest Partners in London last week, dealmakers from Permira, KKR, and Blackstone all talked openly about how they could come up with an offer for Informa to rival the 506p-per-share approach submitted by Providence, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman. Telegraph

TimesOnline reports on a lost Shakespear portfolio that has turned up in suspicious circumstances: The folio, printed in 1623 and valued at up to £3 million, was among a number of valuable books and manuscripts taken from the Durham University Library in December 1998. Last night a middle-aged book dealer was being questioned by police after the discovery of other historic manuscripts at his house in Washington, Tyne and Wear.

There is a curious tie in with this story in the TimesOnline about Hemingways House in Havana. I think there is a connection and I wonder if the gent "helping the police with their enquiries" has even visited Havanna.

PW reports that Susan Driscoll is taking a senior role at Wolters Kluwer.

Wiley has purchased some titles from Cengage as part of Cengage's need to divest titles as part of their deal agreement with JD. The acquisition provides Wiley entry into the Introduction to Business course area, with a market-leading title, Contemporary Business,12th edition (13th edition to publish early in 2009), by Louis E. Boone and David E. Kurtz. These titles serve the first business course and offer Wiley an excellent opportunity to showcase its other business titles. The acquisition also will leverage Wiley Higher Education's language program, which is currently centered on Spanish, transforming Wiley into a more full-service provider to college and university language departments by offering learning materials in Introductory and Intermediate Italian and French, German grammar, and Business French.

Business Week reports on actions to limit the influence of ratings sevices like Moody's and Standard & Poors and also argues why these firms are still needed. With investors' losses topping the hundreds of billions as many once highly rated securities have tumbled, ratings agencies have come under withering criticism for issuing scores that have proven far too optimistic. Already, under rising pressure to rethink their roles, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced a deal with the three largest ratings agencies to reform the way they collect fees from debt issuers. Now, the Securities & Exchange Commission is moving to lessen investors' reliance on the scores.

Reuters also report on the ratings services: Many financial companies, including banks and lenders, have been sued following the housing market bust; but the cases against ratings agencies may be among the most closely watched.

As reported on earlier in the week, USAToday looks at textbook pricing but more specifically 'open' online textbooks. Frank [ex-Pearson] and his business partner, Jeff Shelstad, in January plan to launch Flat World Knowledge, the first commercial open textbook publisher. It will offer free online textbooks that can be printed and bound, for about $25 for black and white and $35-$39 for full-color copies. The average price of a traditional textbook varies by subject; many new textbooks cost about $150, Allen [director of the Make Textbooks Affordable campaign by Student Public Interest Research Groups] says. Comments are interesting.

CNN Money looks at the Indian Educational market and estimate it to be worth over $120bill. US publishers are jockying for position in this market. Technopak, a Delhi-based investment consultancy, estimates that the current private-education market is worth $40 billion a year, and that this could roughly triple to $110-120 billion in ten years’ time. The potential is attracting foreign companies such as Pearson Education (PSO), part of the UK-based publishing group, and McGraw-Hill (MHP), as well as private equity firms that include Blackstone (BX), New Vernon, and Deutsche Securities, part of Deutsche Bank (DB).

Reuters reports Bertelsmann has sold its US book club business.

TimesOnline notes that ReedElsevier is starting a search for the successor to Crispin Davis. The will look internally and externally. PDN prediction: it will be a current employee.

Guardian picks up PaidContent parent company (for reported $30mm).

WSJ on textbook pricing. PND

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