Less than a week after buying 50% of radio company DMG Radio Australia, Lachlan Murdoch has emerged as bidder for a suite of publications including famous entertainment trade papers Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter.
According to reports in the Financial Times, Murdoch is teaming up with private equity firm Pluribus Capital Management to examine assets that have been put up for sale by Neilsen Business Media, a division of publishing giant Neilsen.
Under the proposed deal, Murdoch’s investment company Illyria could team up with Pluribus to buy most of Neilsen Business Media, which has been battling lower advertising and falling attendances at the trade shows it runs.
According to the FT, Nielsen Business Media’s revenues have fallen 30%, from $US371 million to $258 million in the first nine months of 2009. The company posted an operating loss of $US151 million in that period, compared with an $US85 million operating profit made in the same period of 2008.
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There have been reports Neilsen is seeking $70 million for the assets.
According to the Financial Times, the firm includes a number of media entrepreneurs, including James Finkelstein, the publisher of Who’s Who in Britain, Matthew Doull, a nephew of Conrad Black, and George Green, former publisher of Hearst Magazines International.
News of the proposed deal, which could be announced as early as this week, comes just a week after Murdoch paid $110 million for a half share in DMG Radio Australia, owner of the Nova and Vega radio networks.
Murdoch will serve as chairman of DMG in a role that is seen as his first real hands on media job since he left his father Rupert Murdoch’s company News Corporation in 2005.