Friday, March 09, 2007
The Readers' Digest Goes Private
March 2nd, 2007, Readers' Digest Association went private. Ripplwood Holdings, LLC led a group of private equity investors who acquied the Association.
Mary Berner takes over as CEO. She has a big job ahead of her. Since the Cold War ended, the flagship magazine, an American cultural icon, drifted away from its original editorial embodiment of solid American values in a desperate search for new demographics. Circulation fell. The magazine, which was the vine that gave substance to the direct marketing branches, withered.
Mary Berner is highly qualified for the job. She left Conte Nash in January, 2006. Apparently she lost out in the bureaucratic politics, and did not want to play second fiddle. She brought an appealing management style to Fairfax publications and achieved great success.
Stockholders, who had gotten little to cheer (see the stock price chart courtesey of Stocktrak.com) about during the long years of public ownership, gladly voted for the acquisition offer in February.