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Cygnus Closes ‘Several’ Magazines, Lays Off 50

Cuts come as publisher reorganizes pavement, fire and EMS sectors.



By Jason Fell
07/20/2009

Cygnus Business Media today said it has laid off 50 employees across editorial, sales, sales support and graphic design—representing about 12 percent of its overall workforce.

In addition, the trade publisher is suspending publication of several of its titles. A Cygnus spokesperson declined to say how many or which titles are affected. Sources, however, said Modern Jeweler, Lustre, RV Trade Digest and Wood Digest are among them.

“The areas that are affected are related to media that remains viable, but are currently depressed due to market conditions,” the company said in a statement.

UPDATE: According to multiple sources, Cygnus has received at least one offer to purchase Wood Digest and Surface Fabrication magazines. A company spokesperson declined to comment.

In addition to the staffing reduction, Cygnus said it is reorganizing its pavement, fire and emergency medical services sectors—moving those operations under a centralized sales and marketing group. That group will be able to “provide larger, more integrated opportunities for marketers that include print, expositions, interactive, video, digital and social media programs,” the company said.

“Some of our groups are seeing signs that their markets are stabilizing—with requests even coming in for Q4 proposals," said Cygnus Publishing president Mike Martin. "That’s a positive sign, similar to what the overall economy might be suggesting. But no one is projecting a rapid turnaround next year.  Because of that, the decisions and steps taken today have positioned our operations, to the best of our knowledge and visibility, to remain sound this year and next year, should we not see some improvement in the economy.”

In March, Cygnus eliminated 30 employees, the result of a consolidation of the company's production and design teams. At the time, Cygnus suspended publication of Photo Trade News (PTN) and Studio Photography, as well as Imaginginfo.com.

Earlier this year, Cygnus eliminated its 401(k) contribution program and froze employee salaries.

Cygnus owners ABRY Partners has been exploring a sale of the b-to-b publisher since last summer and is said to be negotiating a debt-for-equity exchange with GE Commercial Finance, its senior lender.  That deal was expected to be closed in May but negotiations are still “ongoing,” according to the spokesperson.

By Jason Fell
07/20/2009




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