Officially, the move is part of a "portfolio review" -- but the real reason likely has to do with striking the right diversity balance.
Diversification is often seen as a negative in difficult economic times, and McGraw-Hill's properties are certainly all over the map: They include everything from book publishing arms to J.D. Power and Associates. And with old media outlets like TV becoming less profitable than they once were, the firm apparently feels getting rid of them before they lose even more of their value makes shareholder sense.
Does the firm want to unload the broadcasting group components on a single buyer, or would it consider peddling them in piecemeal fashion? We've got a call into McGraw-Hill spokeswoman Patti Rockenwagner; when and if she responds, we'll update this item.
Update, 12:21 p.m. June 14: Just received a call back from aforementioned McGraw-Hill spokeswoman Patti Rockenwagner, who says that at this point, the company prefers to limit its comments to the information featured in its press release. She stuck to this approach even when asked if selling KMGH -- whose call letters explicitly reference McGraw-Hill -- was a difficult decision.
As such, the official info is limited to the following:
McGraw-Hill to Divest Broadcasting Business as Part of Portfolio Review
NEW YORK, June 14, 2011 -- The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) today announced it has retained Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC to pursue the divestiture of its Broadcasting Group. The television stations in the Group are in desirable markets and should be attractive to strategic and financial buyers with a focus on media.
The planned divestiture is part of a continuing portfolio review that McGraw-Hill is undertaking across the enterprise to reevaluate its strategic core and ensure it is appropriately allocating capital to generate shareholder value. The Company is also evaluating G&A costs across the corporation to ensure it continues to support its businesses efficiently.
"McGraw-Hill has successfully evolved its business mix over the years and is committed to driving superior shareholder value by focusing on high-growth global brands and businesses," said Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.
The Broadcasting Group had revenues of almost $100 million in 2010, up 18% over the prior year. It includes ABC affiliates in Denver, Colorado (KMGH-TV), San Diego, California (KGTV), Bakersfield, California (KERO-TV), Indianapolis, Indiana (WRTV) and Azteca America affiliates in Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, San Diego and Bakersfield.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies: Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. With leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.
The forward-looking statements in this news release involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on various important factors, including worldwide economic, financial, liquidity, political and regulatory conditions; the health of debt (including U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations) and equity markets, including possible future interest rate changes; the health of the economy and in advertising; the level of expenditures and state new adoptions and open territory sales in the education market; the successful marketing of competitive products; and the effect of competitive products and pricing.
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