Readers Digest has been around for as long as I can remember, its small book-like pages bright and beckoning in places like the washroom. Not that I don’t like it, but I somewhow always think of my Grandmother, who always had a subscription, bought their books and joined their sweepstakes on a regular basis.
Because of her, I have in fact begun to buy it as I stand in line at the supermarket, but yes, it does always end up somewhere in the bathroom. After all, it is the perfect size.
But back on topic, good old Readers Digest, which is also a giant publishing and direct marketing operation has made a deal to be purchased by Ripplewood Holdings LLC, a private equity firm, for $1.6 billion.
For 16-years Reader’s Digest was a publicly traded company handled by a charitable foundation until 2002. The company had however been in deep debt for some time to the tune of a whopping $776.3 million, with the circulation of its magazine declining from 12.6 million in 2000 to about 10 million.
Eric Schrier, RD’s CEO wrote a letter to his employees with these words:
“Much has been written about going private, and of the advantages for some organizations when time-consuming public disclosure and shorter-term, quarter-to-quarter pressures are alleviated”
Readers Digest was founded by DeWitt and Lila Wallace in 1922 in an apartment underneath a speakeasy in New York City‘s Greenwich Village. Circulation of the magazine grew rapidly and peaked at about 17 million in the 1970s.