Business and medical publisher Reed Elsevier's outgoing CEO Crispin Davis, given a somewhat heraldic exit interview in the Financial Times, has said he should have acted sooner to sell Variety and Farmer's Weekly pubilsher Reed Business Information (RBI), the divestment of which Reed announced last year before buy-up attempts were dashed on the credit market's rocks months later.
Davis: "In retrospect, we should have moved earlier but we really didn't think we could sell both education and RBI well at the same time. If we'd known that this downturn was going to happen, we may have said it was worth the risk."
Davis sold Reed's Harcourt education businesses to Pearson (NYSE: PSO) and Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group in 2007. But hindsight's a wonderful thing - few people foretold the liquidity logjam that would cause media acquisition money to disappear late last year and through in to this. The FT.com story says RBI's magazines are still for sale.
By Robert Andrews