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CQ for sale… if the price is right

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Another indication that this is just a tough business — The Times Publishing Company has announced it is “exploring the sale of Congressional Quarterly.”

The Washington Business Journal says:

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

01.28.09 9:15p ET UPDATE: I have a number of friends over at CQ. The owners had a meeting with staff today, during which they were told that the brokers had recommended that they not tell staff until after the sale was complete, but they decided to keep their employees informed. Wow — wonderfully novel. It seems unlikely that CQ would be bought by a private equity or venture capital firm because of the tight credit market these days. It will be interesting to see what happens… and how CQ evolves.

You can read the full release after the break…

Times Publishing Co. Announces Plans To Sell Congressional Quarterly, Inc.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 28, 2009 – The Times Publishing Co. of St. Petersburg, Fla., announced today it is exploring the sale of Congressional Quarterly, Inc.

Based in Washington, D.C., Congressional Quarterly is the nation’s leading publisher of news and information on politics, public policy and legislative activity at the federal, state and local levels. With nearly 170 reporters, editors and researchers covering governmental activity, CQ is recognized as a leader in the development of Web-based information products.

Paul Tash, chairman of Times Publishing, said the move represents the company’s decision to direct investment resources toward properties in Florida, including its award-winning newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times.

“From its inception, CQ has enjoyed a sterling reputation for journalistic excellence, and in recent years its executives and its staff have created a prosperous and growing enterprise,” Tash said. “CQ will attract many potential buyers who recognize its rich tradition and bright future.”

CQ President Robert W. Merry, who joined CQ in 1987 after a dozen years covering Washington for the Wall Street Journal, said, “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.”

Since its founding in 1945 by Nelson Poynter, then owner of the St. Petersburg Times, CQ has grown into the leading publisher of information on federal, state and local governmental activity. Though it began in print with the authoritative and respected CQ Weekly magazine, which continues to be a leading publication for political and policy professionals, the company today garners a majority of its revenue from electronic, real-time information., created in the late 1990s, is a highly successful subscription-based information service that tracks congressional activity for the sophisticated Washington audience and is seen by many industry analysts as an innovative service that pushed CQ to the first rank of digital publishing.

Similarly, Capitol Hill watchers turn to CQ’s daily newsletter, CQ Today, both in print and online, for key news and information on each day’s legislative happenings. CQ also reaches far beyond the Beltway with its free CQ Politics Web site, which offers news, blogs and interactive features on politics and campaigns for political professionals and opinion leaders of all stripes. And state and regional government leaders across the nation depend on CQ’s Governing magazine for in-depth analysis of the trends affecting their state governments.

Times Publishing has retained the Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., a New York-based investment banking firm, 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.

Wilma Jordan, CEO and founder of JEGI, said, “We are extremely pleased and privileged to be representing CQ. Bob Merry and his team have developed market-leading information products and cutting-edge Web content on government, politics and public policy, and we are confident that new ownership will enable the management team to continue its successful strategy of growth and innovation.”

About Times Publishing Co.

Times Publishing Co. publishes the St. Petersburg Times, Florida’s largest daily with circulation of 390,289 Sunday and 268,935 daily (ABC Publisher’s Statement 9/30/08). Considered one of the country’s top ten newspapers with six Pulitzer Prizes, the Times is one of the nation’s last and largest independents. Owned by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Times Publishing also publishes, in addition to Congressional Quarterly, the free daily tbt* (Tampa Bay Times) as well as Florida Trend magazine and a series of community weeklies. For more information, visit

About Congressional Quarterly, Inc.

With nearly 170 reporters, editors and researchers covering Congress, politics and public policy, Congressional Quarterly keeps its readers updated in print and online on a weekly, daily and real-time basis. With a readership that includes nearly every member of Congress and their staffs, as well as Executive Branch and state-level officials, leaders in business and associations, top academic institutions and leading media outlets, CQ provides opinion leaders comprehensive, credible, current and objective information on Congress, politics and public policy. CQ’s award-winning product line includes: CQ Weekly, CQ Today,, CQ Homeland Security, CQ Budget Tracker, CQ HealthBeat, CQ MoneyLine, CQ Politics and Governing Magazine. CQ is owned by the Times Publishing Co. of St. Petersburg, Fla., publisher of the St. Petersburg Times and other publications. For more information, visit or

Written by cdorobek

January 28, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Posted in press

One Response

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  1. Chris!!!

    I consulted briefly at CQ on circulation issues in 2000. I warned them the attrition they were already seeing was due to web based content and they did not listen. CQ, Nat Journal, etc, are passe as high priced print – there are too many sources that beat them to the punch…
    not that I have an opinion.


    January 28, 2009 at 6:57 PM

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