Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CQ is Up for Sale

In another small but real way, the continuing meltdown in publishing world spreads through DC. I just read an announcement that CQ is being put for sale by its owner, Times Publishing, based out of Florida. From today's Washington Business Journal:

In a statement, Chairman Paul Tash said Times Publishing would explore the sale of the 63-year-old publishing company, based in the District, to steer investment capital toward the company’s other publishing ventures in Florida, including its flagship newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times.
I used to work at CQ and it is a phenomenal organization that develops amazing stories each and every day that are absolute must have for any DC insider.

Founded in 1945 by St. Petersburg Times owner Nelson Poynter, CQ grew over the decades into a leading publisher of news and information about legislation, the federal government and politics. Its clientele is largely made up of professionals seeking to influence Congress, including lobbying firms, law firms and government agencies.

In the late 1990s, CQ moved aggressively into the online world, turning CQ.com into a powerful tool for tracking legislation moving through Congress. CQ also publishes Governing magazine, which covers state governments.

Times Publishing said it has retained New York-based investment banking firm the Jordan, Edmiston Group Inc. to handle the transaction. JEGI performed the same role last year in the sale of CQ’s books division, CQ Press, to Sage Publications of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

“The Times Publishing Co. has been a wonderful steward of this business. But to maintain CQ’s double-digit growth, we appreciate that it’s time to bring our enterprise under the banner of an owner with national or international reach,” said CQ President Robert W. Merry.

My only worry is that, in the hands of a private equity group, the pressure to drive growth will dilute the world class product CQ has produced over the years, and ultimately kill the golden goose.
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