DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement

DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement

The worst kept secret in town is now official — Roll Call newspaper’s parent company, The Economist Group, today announced that it is buying the Congressional Quarterly group. Here is the AP story.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The owner of Roll Call is buying Congressional Quarterly in a deal that will bring two well-known publications covering Capitol Hill and Washington politics under the same corporate umbrella.

Terms of the deal announced Tuesday were not disclosed.

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Read slightly more here.

Here is the release:

Roll Call Acquires Congressional Quarterly

New CQ-Roll Call Group to be Leading Provider of Comprehensive Information on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Roll Call Group today announced it has agreed to acquire Congressional Quarterly from the Times Publishing Company. Under the terms of the agreement, Roll Call, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Economist Group, will purchase CQ to form a new company to be known as the CQ-Roll Call Group.

“We are delighted to welcome Congressional Quarterly to Roll Call,” said Laurie Battaglia, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Roll Call Group, who will become the executive leader of the new merged enterprise.

“The new CQ-Roll Call Group will have the largest and most experienced newsroom covering Washington and will be the leader in providing insight and analysis about the workings of Congress,” Battaglia said. “CQ and Roll Callare both highly regarded for unbiased, authoritative journalism and excellence.”

“The Times Publishing Company takes great pride in the success of Congressional Quarterly, and takes great pleasure in knowing that it has a very bright future as part of The Economist Group,” said Paul Tash, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Times. He said the Times is retaining its Governing Magazine division in D.C.

Each company has a storied and distinct history covering Congress and Washington politics and policy. Since 1945, CQ has been the “publication of record” providing factual, unbiased coverage of congressional activity. In recent years, CQ has been at the forefront of developing Internet services that provide real-time intelligence on the workings of Congress.

Roll Call, founded in 1955 and acquired by the Economist Group in 1992, has been at the center of the Capitol Hill community providing a look into the people, politics and personalities that drive the legislative process. This focus on community has led to strategic expansion into trade association-based grassroots mobilization with the acquisition of Capitol Advantage in 2008.

The CQ-Roll Call Group intends to maintain each company’s unique editorial voice, and thus there are no current plans to eliminate any products. In addition, the great majority of the CQ staff will join the merged organization.

Robert W. Merry, President and Editor-in-Chief of CQ for the past 12 years, will not be retained by the merged company. “As in many such instances of two companies coming together,” Merry said, “one CEO inevitably becomes extraneous. In this situation, that’s me.” He will pursue other publishing and journalistic opportunities.

Congressional Quarterly was represented by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., a New York City-based investment bank that specializes in the media, information, marketing services and related technology industries.

Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009.

About Roll Call Group
Founded in 1955, Roll Call Group is the leading news source for coverage of the people, politics and personalities that shape the legislative landscape. From the daily Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, to the grassroots mobilization product, CapwizXC, Roll Call Group provides its readers with the tools, data and access they need to understand and influence Congress. Visit www.rollcallgroup.com for more information.

About Congressional Quarterly
With more than 160 reporters, editors and researchers covering Capitol Hill and Washington, CQ keeps policy professionals and opinion leaders updated in print and online on a weekly, daily and real-time basis. CQ’s award-winning product line includes: CQ Weekly, CQ Today, CQ.com, CQ Politics, CQ Homeland Security, CQ Budget Tracker, CQ HealthBeat, CQ MoneyLine, CQ Transcripts and CQ StateTrack. Founded in 1945, CQ has a rich history of providing comprehensive, credible and objective information on Congress, politics and public policy. For more information, visit www.cq.com or www.cqpolitics.com.

About The Economist Group
The publications and services delivered under The Economist brand are The Economistmagazine, Economist.com, Economist Intelligence Unit, Economist Conferences, The World Inand Intelligent Life. The Group’s other brands include: CFO, a publication for senior finance executives; EuroFinance, a cash and treasury management event business; and Roll Call Group (including Capitol Advantage) and European Voice (aimed at decision-makers on Capitol Hill and Brussels respectively). The Economist Group is privately owned. For more information, visit www.economistgroup.com.

About Times Publishing Company
The Times Publishing Company is based in St. Petersburg, Florida, where it publishes Florida’s largest daily newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, the winner of eight Pulitzer prizes. The Times also offers Governing Magazine, Florida Trend Magazine, the free daily tbt*/Tampa Bay Times, the award-winning web site PolitiFact.com, the web portal TampaBay.com, and specialty publications including local weeklies and niche products. For more information, visit www.TampaBay.com

There are several interesting stories in here, not the least of which is the growing battle between Roll Call and Politico, which has grown into a power house… and actually, it is more like Politico against Roll Call and the Washington Post and The Hill…. (If you didn’t read the story in Vanity Fair about Politico… it is a fascinating read.)

Another may have been answered already: The Mike Mills question. Politico reports that Laurie Battaglia, managing director of Roll Call Group, will oversee the merged enterprise. Battaglia said that there are no plans to eliminate any print brands, since they are profitable and have “separate, distinct voices.” But Politico says that there are plans to integrate the newsrooms over the next 18 months. And… Mike Mills will get a post that he was passed over previously. Mills, who formerly was with CQ then went to the Washington Business Journal before joining Roll Call, will become editorial director of the combined newsroom.

Meanwhile CQ editor-in chief Bob Merry will be leaving.

But many of us will also be watching what The Economist/Roll Call does with Governing magazine, which has covered the state and local market. The state and local market has been… what is worse then awful?

And while neither side is saying anything official, we will also likely start hearing numbers. The buzz is that there weren’t many bidders… and those bids came is well under what Times Publishing Company had expected.

Many things to watch as this deal moves forward.