The latest dot-com casualty comes from the newsstand, not the Internet.
Business 2.0, a monthly magazine about the new economy, will be shut down rather than sold, its owners at Time Inc. have decided. The publication, which has been suffering from a decline in advertising revenue, will cease publication after its October issue, which will have a cover article on where to invest in a real estate downturn.
According to people familiar with Time Inc.’s handling of the matter, Time turned down offers from Mansueto Ventures Llc., owners of the rival magazine Fast Company, and other prospective buyers to acquire the Business 2.0 brand and its circulation list of 600,000 subscribers.
Instead, Time Inc. will reassign the editor of Business 2.0, Joshua Quittner, and nine other editorial staff members to Fortune magazine, where they will help with Fortune’s technology coverage, conference business and website.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being heartbroken,” said Quittner, who steered the magazine for five and a half years. “That said, we had a terrific team here and learnt a lot. A bunch of us are going on to Fortune, where we’ll have an even bigger platform to carry on the good fight.”
On Wednesday, human resources personnel and other executives from Time Inc. will visit the magazine’s San Francisco headquarters to formally close its operations, employees there have been told.
The developments mark the final chapter in the decade-long life of the Business 2.0 brand. The first magazine to be called Business 2.0, a biweekly, made its debut in 1998 and was published by the Future Network, a British media company.
Time Warner bought the magazine in 2001 for a reported $68 million (Rs279 crore) and combined its operations with its own fledgling business magazine, eCompany Now.
The new Business 2.0 came close to breaking even in 2005, but spiralled back into the red this year after the number of advertising pages plunged nearly 40% through July, according to the Magazine Publishers of America.
A report in The New York Times in July that Time Inc. executives were considering closing the magazine mobilized some support among readers, who started a group on the social networking website Facebook. Time Inc. then agreed to consider acquisition offers, but ultimately decided that Business 2.0’s resources were best added into Fortune. A Time Inc. spokeswoman declined to comment.
A benefit of the magazine’s recent purgatory is that most of its laid-off employees now have other jobs lined up. “One good thing having our carcass dragged through the streets for the last month is that it gave everyone ample time tofind something,” said one employee.