Since I broke this story two days ago, media executives have weighed in to confirm that The Hollywood Reporter, along with the other 41 titles at Nielsen Business Media, is indeed for sale. This, despite the on-the-record denial of Gerry Byrne, who heads the Nielsen Company division.
Perhaps the directors of the six private equity firms that acquired the Nielsen Company in 2006 - the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, AlphInvest Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, known collectively as Valcon - haven't told him. Either way, they are keeping the matter discreet.
On the top floor of media companies, however, it's not a secret. According to a media executive with direct knowledge of the meeting, a principal in one of the Valcon private equity firms floated the idea of a purchase by The New York Times at a meeting of the Times' board of directors this week. (I cannot reveal the identity of the executive to protect the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.)
But that doesn't sound like the right fit to me. The New York Times is not in the business-to-business business. And I'm not sure why a big media company saddled with a core print business would take on more dead-tree properties.
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