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McGraw-Hill Cos. is combining the online operations of Business Week and Standard & Poor's in a move seen by insiders as the first step in a larger Internet play.

Business Week Online ( and Standard & Poor's Personal Wealth ( will remain as separate sites, but operate as a single unit within the company.

Business Week Publisher David G. Ferm will oversee all aspects of the combined online businesses, including marketing, promotion, registration and advertising. Business Week Online Editor Bob Arnold and Personal Wealth Editor Doug Dundas will report to Business Week Editor in Chief Stephen Shepard.


The move will raise the profile of Personal Wealth by attaching it to the more visible Business Week brand. Personal Wealth is a subscription-based site that offers investment advice, stock tips, company profiles and market commentary. That puts it in direct competition with such sites as, The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition and

The shift also expands Business Week's online offerings beyond articles and other information from the magazine.

"Personal Wealth up until now has not had the promotional capabilities it's needed, and the technology applications needed to be fine-tuned," Mr. Ferm said. "Under this structure we'll be able to grow both."

Just how aggressive McGraw-Hill plans to be online is still to be decided. Mr. Ferm and Vasant M. Prabhu, president of information and media services, presented a plan to President-CEO Harold "Terry" McGraw III to invest $10 million to build a combined financial-information supersite, said one executive with knowledge of the discussions. The portal model would group several vertical channels under the Business Week Online site, with some partners for the channels sought from outside McGraw-Hill.


Business Week Online currently offers a mix of free and paid content and claims some 300,000 registered users. Personal Wealth charges $9.95 per month for personalized trading advice; its free areas draw on proprietary Standard & Poor's financial databases, including real-time currency prices.

Mr. Ferm expects a sharp increase in subscribers and advertisers as the sites come together.

"We can now take the combined sites out into the ad market and sell them against the number of page views and sell core banner ads for both sites," Mr. Ferm said. "Beyond that, we can develop relationships and partnerships for both with the Lycos or America Onlines of the world in a way that lets us leverage both sites."

Business Week Online has made other recent moves to expand its offerings, including the launch of, a daily feed of reports and columns about

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