Who wasn't gobsmacked by Reed Elsevier's announcement this AM that it plans to sell Reed Business Information, the magazine publishing division that includes Variety and Daily Variety, Broadcasting and Cable, Multichannel News, and Publishers Weekly. Well, everyone except RBI-U.S. CEO Tad Smith who sent a memo reassuring his staff that "the announcement this morning neither surprises nor worries me". And Reed Business CEO Gerard van de Aast, who thinks "we will continue to do well under new ownership".
According to the official statement, parent company Reed Elsevier chief exec Crispin Davis said the move was aimed at "reducing exposure to advertising markets and cyclicality," enabling the Anglo-Dutch group to focus on its core business of "subscription-based information and workflow solutions." (Oh, c'mon, we all really know this is because so many writers cancelled their subscriptions to Variety because of its slanted coverage of the strike, right? Just kidding...)