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Nielsen sells Billboard, closes two magazines

NEW YORK - Entertainment industry bibles Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter have been sold for an undisclosed sum by Nielsen, which has also closed two of its other trade titles, Editor & Publisher, and the Kirkus Review.

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The global publisher and FMCG and media data provider has sold eight of its properties - Brandweek, Mediaweek, The Clio Awards, Backstage, Film Journal International, along with music title Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter - to a new company called E5 Global Media.

Earlier in the auction process Nielsen was reported to have been hoping to receive $70m (£42.6m) for the assets.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Nielsen said the transaction should be completed by the end of the year and the magazines will continue to be run from their existing offices.

The sale of the titles had been expected, but Nielsen's decision to close Editor & Publisher and literary magazine the Kirkus Review came as a surprise.

A story on the Editor & Publisher website says that staff were only told of the decision as Nielsen made the news public. Editor & Publisher covered the newspaper industry and dated back over 125 years, but relied on recruitment advertising for much of its revenue.

E5 Global Media has been formed by Pluribus Capital Management, a media-focused private equity partnership, and Guggenheim Partners, which has diverse global investments.

Pluribus' founders have an impressive media pedigree. James Finklestein publishes 'Who's Who' in the US, George Green was chief executive of Hearst Magazines International until his retirement in January, and Matthew Doull is a former publisher of Conde Nast's Wired.

Finkelstein, who is chairman of E5 Global Media, said: "These are unique brands that are already leaders in their respective fields and, with the additional financial and strategic resources that we will provide, they will be positioned to add enhanced content across their print, online and new media channels and to continue to deliver value to their subscribers and advertisers."

Lachlan Murdoch, son of Rupert, had been in the frame to acquire the titles through his private fund, Illyria, which would have backed Pluribus, but withdrew at the last minute. He is reported to want to focus on his investment in Australian radio stations.

Nielsen said it remains committed to its leading trade show group and affiliated brands. It will continue to assess the strategic fit of other publications, which include titles such as Progressive Grocer and Contract Magazine.

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