Back to the Future: Wired buys Ars Technica

ars soldWhen Wired magazine came on the scene it was the essence of Geek Chic.  It was business news for the up and comer, forward looking journalism for the techno Internet industrialists.   Founded in 1993, the magazine was quick to draw raves, winning industry awards for design and general excellence.  It set a standard for innovation and vision.  Then the Internet bubble burst.  Along with it, the audience of need-to-know-know news hungry entrepreneurs shrank.   Advertisers had less interest to spend.  To survive, Wired evolved and sought new readers.  While peers like Industry Standard and Business 2.0 stayed their courses and shuttered, Wired became more mainstream, broader.  With a wider, more diverse audience, the property survived the crash, even weathered through complex ownership  issues ( and Wired magazine shared content but had different owners from 1998 to 2006).  Along the way, however, Wired lost some of its “Silicon Street” credibility.

Over the past two years,, Wired’s owner, has moved to restore some of that digital cache. Click to Read More

Time Warp: Corporate Raiding Redux. Yahoo, CBS, CNET and Icahn

proxyfights.jpgThe big merger news this week was supposed to come Friday with the expiration date of Electronic Arts hostile takeover for Take Two.  Unfortunately, a number of people didn’t get the memo.  Instead, Thursday became the big day for M&A activity with not one but two major announcements lighting up the news wires. 

On one front, CBS stepped up to rescue CNET from the grips of activist shareholders by means of a $1.8billion cash tender offer.  Elsewhere, financier Carl Icahn went public with his plans for Yahoo.  He’ll begin the process Microsoft was unwilling to initiate: a tender offer to take control of Yahoo’s board of directors.

Three major deals in a week – two of them hostile and one something of a white knight rescue… it almost seems like we’ve slid back to the 80’s. Click to Read More

STAFFING REPORT: Changes at AMD, BBC, Washington Post and More

staff changesThe revolving doors of corporate suites are always turning. New hires coming in, new executives restocking teams with teams of their own choosing, people moving to new challenges or to pasture.  It’s a constant.  This past week, however, has seen enough executive staff shifting to keep any HR team busy.  From Motorola to AMD, from the BBC to NBC and CBS, from the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal, the corporate trees got a good shake.  Here’s the recap of who’s in and who’s out: Click to Read More

Digg for the Press: Publish2 Gets Funding

fresh fundingNew Media tech writers (Metue included) usually reserve some airtime to cover the freshly funded.  Such newly flush startups are powerful fuel for talking about developing trends or as barometers for the next (or not likely to be next) new thing.  Every now and then though, when the funding size is extravagant or the recipient a peer, the financial press gets buzzing. 

This relatively quiet news Monday, the blog side of tech news buzzed about the Series A financing of press-centric startup Publish2.    Per the company’s own announcement, they closed a $2.75m first round with money from Velocity Group.

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Stat Survey: Inside the Newspaper Industry

inside papersHow low can it go for traditional print news media?  Pretty low, according to a few recent reports.

The first, from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), pegged 2007 as the worst downturn in the newspaper print ad business in over 50 years.  Revenue for the industry was down just under 8% to $45.3b.   That’s not a surprise, it’s been long forecast, still a 50 year low is a significant milestone.

The silver lining is the online news machine continues to improve. Click to Read More

Corporate Housekeeping: Closings, Hiring’s and other Short Takes

corporate imageOver the course of a week there are always a few news items that don’t warrant front page attention but still merit a mention; things like new hires or deals that finally closed after being widely reported when first announced.  This week with Electronic Arts hiring a COO,the New York Times proxy settlement and deal closings from Clear Channel and Amazon, there have been a handful that fell into that category. Here’s the roundup in one dose:

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Ziff Davis Media Files Bankruptcy

ziff-davis.jpgThings have gone from bad to worse for publishing house Ziff Davis Media and its Private Equity owner Willis Stein.  Bankruptcy is now official.

Under mounting debt, things have been bad for some time.  Last year the troubled company sold off their enterprise division ($160m in June).  In August, they announced they’d be unable to make interest payments on their mounting debt.  Today’s news that the company will seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to try and sort out the mess was a foregone conclusion.

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