BNP Media looks to integrate McGraw-Hill’s iconic B2B magazine titles ENR & ArcRecord into existing AEC group
The B2B publisher has installed new publishers and moved the staff into offices in the Empire State Building since acquiring the titles last summer
Almost a century ago, in 1917, James H. McGraw merged the McGraw and the Hill Publishing Companies to form one of the iconic business-to-business publishing companies in America. That year the first issue of Engineering News-Record was published – the successor to two titles, Engineering News and Engineering Record. For years ENR was one of the two powerhouse magazines, along with Architectural Record, that formed the cornerstone of McGraw-Hill’s construction group.
But McGraw-Hill has become a financial services company, and so the sale of the construction group to the private equity firm Symphony Technology Group didn’t come as a complete shock to those of us who have worked in B2B or at McGraw-Hill (I worked in the Construction Information Group, which contained both magazines, from 1991 to 1995). But the sale was to a company more interested in the data businesses in the group, not the print magazines. So, B2B professionals wondered what might be the fate of ENR and ArchRecord.
In June of last year we found out: they were sold to the Troy, Michigan based B2B publisher BNP Media.
According to BNP’s co-CEO Tagg Henderson, the two titles have found a good home.
“We weren’t really in the market for an acquisition, but we were approached by the investment banker that was putting together this deal last year,” Henderson told me last week.
“Because of the iconic legacy of these brands, and how powerful they have been through the years, and how well they fit into our current portfolio of AEC brands – we have about 35 brands in the AEC space – we really felt like we couldn’t pass it up,” Henderson said. “We went down the path of looking at the book, and making an offer. A lot of things fell into place, and it was something that made sense for us.”
BNP Media traces its own founding back to 1926, but most people in the B2B publishing business associate BNP with its roster of control circulation, monthly magazines. ENR is the construction industry’s weekly journal, one with a mostly paid circulation, so I wondered about the corporate fit.
“Interestingly, the publication that started our business, that my great great grandfather started in 1926, was called the Electrical Refrigeration News,” said Henderson. “Today, it is called Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News. He started it as a weekly publication and it is still a weekly publication. It has paid circulation, and has quite a large editorial staff (just like ENR).
Since acquiring the titles in June of last year, BNP Media has installed two of its company veterans as publishers: Scott Seltz at ENR, and Alex Bachrach at ArchRecord. The publishers and staff have now also moved into new offices in the Empire State Building.
Henderson said that between the move, the new leadership, and the new websites for the titles (both were part of McGraw-Hill’s construction.com portal until recently), there has certainly been a lot of activity. But the two brands have not been totally integrated into the company’s AEC group, which includes such titles as Stone World and Roofing Contractor, remaining siloed for now.
But Henderson sees tremendous potential for cross-selling since so many of the publisher’s customers are already buying multiple titles.
“We certainly see synergies,” Henderson said. “There are a number of advertisers using the vertical brands that we have, and using Architectural Record and ENR. We see a lot of opportunities to have broader conversations with those advertisers about reaching an audience through BNP that few if any media companies out there that can provide.”
“We are still focused on making sure that we’ve got everything running the way we want before we integrate them with the other brands in the portfolio,” Henderson said.