Thursday, November 02, 2006

Penton and Prism are one

I just saw a copy of the internal memo announcing that Penton has been acquired by Prism Business Media. There's no official announcement yet (at least not that I've seen), but the deal has been rumored for quite some time. So I don't think anyone is surprised. (ADDENDUM: It's official.)

For some folks, the most interesting thing about the deal is the continued transformation of Bruce Wasserstein into a B2B media mogul (he owns ALM and has a stake in Hanley-Wood in addition to owning Prism.) And not to take anything away from Bruce, but I'm far more interested in some of the smaller players in this deal.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I was once the vice president for online content at Primedia Business, the predecessor of Prism. And I've heard over and over again in recent months that it's the folks I worked with there in the new-media department that have become the key to Bruce's plans.

So congratulations to Prescott and Pete and Rob and all the rest of the crew. Take a few minutes today to pat yourselves on the back. Because although the money may belong to Bruce, the accomplishments are yours.

For David Shaw's take, click here.
For Folio's coverage of the sale, click here.
For BtoB's coverage, click here.

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  1. Have you heard anything about what the Penton acquisition means for Penton staffers? I read that Prism recently laid off 50-some people and shut down one of their magazines.

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    Prism has laid off people...lots of them. Heck, it's probably safe to say that company has laid off more people in the past five years than any other major B2B publisher. But Prism isn't the only company to have layoffs.And it's worth noting that the layoffs have slowed considerably since Wasserstein took control. So certainly being acquired by Prism doesn't mean that Penton staffers will lose their jobs.
    But whenever a merger happens, I think staffers need to be realistic. If you work in some sort of companywide function -- administrative jobs, support staff, many circulation jobs, etc -- then you have to worry. Odds are there's someone doing a very similar job at Prism. And odds are the company won't need two of you. If your job is specific to a single magazine -- editor, designer, etc. -- then the acquisition is unlikely to have an effect on you (the exception would be if there are titles that are direct competitors.)
    Good luck.


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