[This post has been updated]In what is a major rationalization of b2b publishing in Canada, Glacier Media Inc has announced the purchase of 15 trade magazines from Rogers Publishing Limited as well as associated digital properties, trade shows and databases that were key parts of its business and professional publishing group. This is about one-third of the Rogers business and professional titles (the company has 55 consumer and b2b titles and 45 digital properties) Publications such as Food in Canada, Le Bulletin des agriculteurs, Canadian Packaging and Emballages, HPAC and Meetings & Incentive Travel (including Incentiveworks, Canada''s largest trade show for the meetings, incentive travel and promotions industry) will be integrated into Glacier's Business Information Group. [Update: Other titles included are Canadian Plant and Canadian Plant West, Canadian Metalworking, Plastics in Canada, Materials Management &Distribution, Purchasing B2B, Design Engineering, Hardware Merchandising, Canadian Contractor and PCC, On-Site, Canadian ManufacturingOnline and Frasers.com.
Since several of these titles are direct competitors with existing Glacier titles, it seems likely that over time there will be some rationalization. For example Glacier's Canadian Plastics and Plastics in Canada. ]The transaction (for which terms have not been disclosed) is to close May 27.
A statement to staff from CEO Brian Segal said that the titles sold were no longer core to the business strategy of Rogers Publishing, which henceforth will be concentrating in the financial services, health and medical care sectors :
"In reaching this agreement, the transition of our employees was a key consideration. With this in mind, I am happy to confirm that all 63 individuals who operate these properties (who represent about 7% of the total Publishing team) are being offered positions by Glacier.They will begin moving to their new offices in Toronto and Montreal in the coming days...
"While transitions of this sort can be challenging, we are confident that Glacier understands the place many of these titles hold in terms of their legacy within the history of Canadian publishing, and their markets will be well-served in their new home. The leaders at Glacier also understand and appreciate the talents of their new employees and are keen to work with them."
Glacier has been aggressively building a portfolio of print, electronic and online media; its BIG trade publishing group is largely built upon titles acquired from Hollinger, many of which were direct competitors with Rogers titles. Among Glacier magazines are Business in Vancouver, Canadian Cattlemen, The Daily Oil Bulletin, The Northern Miner and New Technology Magazine. Glacier also is the largest publisher of farm titles, particularly The Western Producer. (As an aside, Glacier's name comes from its original bottled water business before it morphed into a major media player.)
This is a major shift for Rogers and should probably be viewed in light of major management changes at Rogers, including the announcement that CEO Brian Segal is leaving the company. One of the people said to be considered to replace him is John Milne, head of the business and professional group. There has always been speculation that Rogers -- whose major emphasis is its cable, wireless and broadcasting business, might want to unload its print publications at the right price. Clearly what Glacier was offering for these 15 magazines and related digital properties would qualify.
One wrinkle that will have to be ironed out is membership of the Rogers b2b titles in Magazines Canada. This week it was announced that the Canadian Business Press -- a shadow of its former self with the defection of Rogers' titles to Magazines Canada -was giving up being a membership organization and becoming a foundation principally concerned with supporting its annual Kenneth R. Wilson awards program. Glacier was one of the remaining mainstays of CBP who had not joined MC. Now, it owns 15 titles that do belong and the question is whether this will result in Glacier becoming more involved in the big tent industry association or pulling its newly acquired magazines out.