Many of you following the news about G+J putting Fast Company up for sale have probably heard the war of words the resulting story in the New York Times set off with Fast Company editor-in-chief John Byrne. The New York Times called Fast Company basically a worthless property.
In response, Byrne wrote at the Fast Company Now blog, "That [Fast Company and Inc. have a value of zero is] silly and completely inaccurate. Meredith Corp., which agreed to buy both business magazines if they can’t be sold by G+J by the end of June, said such a sale would not be material to the overall purchase price. The reason it’s not material is because Meredith intends to make as much or more selling us than it has agreed to pay G+J for Fast Company and Inc. These are two very valuable national magazine brands being sold at the worst time for G+J but the best time for any smart buyer."
At the FC blog on Tuesday, Byrne wrote that it was an odd environment to be working on the next issue of the magazine while waiting for the results of the bidding process. The second round of bids were to be issued this afternoon, he writes. Check out the entire post.
"The wait has been excruciating. Who buys both Fast Company and Inc. from G&J USA, which is exiting the U.S. magazine business, will largely determine the fate of both magazines," he writes. "Some bidders clearly have little, if any, interest in Fast Company. So the staff is quietly and obviously rooting for an acquirer who believes in what we do and wants to support us … And we’re hopeful that we’ll land in the hands of an owner who knows our true value and believes in our mission to serve our readers."
In an interview with Media Life magazine, Byrne gives a hint of what he would like to happen to the magazine, and where it might find a home. Some tidbits: "You can’t engineer a turnaround under a company that simply cuts costs, reduces your newsstand copies, gives up on newsstand promotion and marketing, doesn’t actively solicit new subscribers, and collapses your sales force to merge it with another magazine. I’ve had four publishers and three bosses in 22 months. Truth is, a new owner with a much lower basis price can more clearly see a path toward success."
On a possible fit: "Both Inc. and Fast Company would fit exceptionally well into the McGraw-Hill stable because they would give support and protection to Business Week in the same way that Fortune Small Business and 2.0 offer benefits to Fortune."