Publishing Company Considers Split

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NEW YORK ( -- Kelly Conlin, CEO of Primedia, has left the company as it proceeds with explorations of a Viacom-like split.

Primedia CEO Kelly Conlin is leaving the company.
Four-year contract
In a statement provided by the company, Mr. Conlin emphasized his accomplishments during the two years he held the top post but said nothing about his departure. His contract had two years remaining. With his departure, Primedia Chairman Dean Nelson assumes the role of president-CEO.

Mr. Conlin took the job in April 2003 after Tom Rogers left amid earlier plans to divide the company. (Mr. Rogers was named president-CEO at TiVo this past June.)

Primedia has steadily sold off assets large and small in recent years, including Seventeen, American Baby, Modern Bride and most recently, which The New York Times Co. bought this year for about $410 million. But the moves have apparently not done enough to increase shareholder value.

Debt rating
Shortly after the news was released, Standard & Poors said it was considering cutting Primedia's debt rating deeper into junk territory, which would effect its ability to borrow money.

Now Primedia has hired Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers as advisers in a possible breakup. The idea under consideration is a spinoff into two publicly traded companies “as a means to unlock value for shareholders,” as the company said in its statement.

Two different companies
Under that plan, Primedia would cleave itself into an enthusiast media company, including magazines like Motor Trend and Hot Rod, and an education company, which would include Channel One, the TV network shown in middle schools and high schools.

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