Bloomberg cut ‘Businessweek’ losses by $44 million

Richard Turley and Josh Tyrangiel at work. ()
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A sidebar accompanying this week's New York magazine article about Mayor Bloomberg's media empire contained an eye-popping number:

In October 2009, he approved the decision to pay $5 million to acquire Businessweek from McGraw-Hill. Financially, the title was a mess—executives said it may have been losing in excess of $40 million a year, a number that scared off other bidders, including Donald Trump.

The magazine's projected shortfall this year? $18 million, New York's Gabe Sherman confirmed. So clearly the revamped title has narrowed its losses considerably under editor-in-chief Josh Tyrangiel.

But the gulf they've crossed is actually a lot wider than $22 million.

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During a chat at the Columbia Journalism School back in March, Tyrangiel said Businessweek was in fact on track to lose $62 million in 2009—which means it will have stanched the red ink by a whopping $44 million by the end of 2012.

"The magazine was losing more than $60 million a year at the time of the acquisition," a Bloomberg LP spokesperson told Capital when asked about the numbers. "In the years we've owned the magazine, we've cut annual losses by two thirds, and are on a multiyear path to profitability."

(We could spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how you spend $18 million, let alone lose it.)