Rodale Inc., a publishing company which houses dozens of magazines under its brand, including Men’s Health, has been acquired by Hearst Magazines. The acquisition is leading to Rodale job cuts in several areas of the company as the two publishing companies become one. The number of Rodale layoffs in 2018 has yet to be publicly announced, however.
This represents one of the first rounds of print media layoffs of 2018. The industry has been struggling for years because of the changing landscape of the market, which has been favoring online publications over print publications. Online advertising, however, yields substantially less revenue compared to print ads in magazines. As such, job cuts have been deep and wide in the publishing industry.
Rodale magazines will not be consolidated into brands owned by Hearst.
Among the Rodale employees being cut as a result of the merger are those in the billing, finance, and information technology departments. The Rodale layoffs in 2018 are cutting positions in Emmaus, New York as the company undergoes what it estimates will be a two-month transition period. Rodale editorial staff has been informed that Hearst will conduct evaluations.
“The broader media business is going through a strategic shift, as the industry starts to consolidate,” wrote David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, in an e-mail to former Rodale employees. “Our own organization’s structure will continue to evolve as we create models that fit the current landscape.”
Carey added, “As with all integrations, there will be a reduction in overall headcount as Rodale becomes part of Hearst, as potential synergies are, in most cases, the foundation of the current M&A activity.”
Hearst announced that Dave Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health from 2000 to 2012, will return as interim editorial director of the magazine following the acquisition.
A change will also be coming to Prevention magazine. That publication will once again accept print advertising, after having gone ad-free in July 2016.
Hearst Magazines Completes Acquisition of Rodale
Hearst bought Rodale for $225.0 million. The acquisition that spurred the Rodale layoffs in 2018 is adding 62 print publications and 57 web sites in 31 countries to the company. Hearst was already the largest publisher of monthly magazines, with a total paid circulation of about 36 million. Some of Hearst’s most popular brands include Elle, Popular Mechanics, Esquire, and Cosmopolitan.
The last-reported number of Rodale employees in the Lehigh Valley area numbered 450 in 2016, but there have since been multiple rounds of job cuts, even before the 2018 Rodale layoffs.
The Rodale book division that Hearst acquired as part of the deal is being sold to Penguin Random House. Rodale had 20 or so employees in the division, and it is unlikely that they will be transferring to Penguin Random House.
Rodale Layoffs in 2017
Rodale had been suffering for years before its acquisition, as evidenced by its multiple rounds of job cuts. The Rodale layoffs in 2017 took place throughout the year, but were largely not quantified publicly. Before the Rodale sale, the company had been winding down its legacy direct-mail business, which prompted layoffs in May 2017.
“The difficult but necessary changes made this week were aimed at aligning our business so that we can focus on developing the content, products and revenue streams that will be vital to the company and ensure our long-term growth,” said Rodale at the time.
The company had long been in a state of flux in the lead-up to the acquisition by Hearst Magazines, with Rodale employees hoping that their new home will restore a semblance of stability.
“Hearst names new leaders of Rodale magazines, begins cutting jobs,” The Morning Call, January 9, 2018.
“Hearst Completes Acquisition of Rodale Inc. Magazine Media Brands,” Business Wire, January 9, 2018.
“Hearst will sell its Rodale book division to Penguin Random House,” New York Post, January 9, 2018.
“Rodale slashes more jobs across company,” The Morning Call, May 18, 2017.