Just in time for Embedded World, Reed Elsevier is to sell off Reed Business Information in order to try to move away from the volatile advertising-funded publishing business. Does this matter to Reed’s electronics titles? I guess the answer has to be a qualified “no”. Reed isn’t saying the business is unprofitable, and the titles appear to be doing OK, despite the tough electronics market. But perhaps the biggest problem is that the buyer that finds the £1bn or more that it would take to purchase RBI isn’t going to have the electronics titles top of their priority list. So potentially the electronics titles could be sold on again, or receive little focus from the new owner.

Whilst uncertainty isn’t a good thing in business, I don’t see this decision as having a dramatic impact on the titles in the long run. They make money, and we’d expect them to find an owner that wants to grow the electronics publishing business – even if they do end up being resold. Frankly if the magazines don’t fit the new Reed Elsevier model, then they are better off with a new owner. I’m optimistic for the future of EPN, EDN and the other titles, and believe that the difficulty of growing advertising revenue in the electronics industry will be a bigger long-term problem than any change of ownership.