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Control Engineering closes after half a century

19 April, 2010

UPDATE: Control Engineering has been bought by a new company set up by former managers with Reed Business Group.

One of the world’s best-known automation magazines, US-based Control Engineering, is closing after its owner, Reed Business Information (RBI) failed to find a buyer for it and 22 other trade publications including Converting, Modern Materials Handling and Plant Engineering. No more print versions of Control Engineering will appear and its Web site will close at the end of April.

Control Engineering was first published more than 50 years ago. It had a US circulation of about 86,000 issues and its Web site was attracting an average of 180,000 page views a month. In addition to the North American magazine, there are spin-off local editions in Europe, China, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, the Middle East and Asia. Together, these represent an additional circulation of around 67,000 issues. Some of them are published under licence, and it is not clear yet how they will be affected by the closure of the American title, but the UK-based IML Group which owns Control Engineering Europe says that CEE will not be affected. "We will continue to publish the print magazine following our established frequency and to maintain and develop our CEE Web operations at and as we do now," it says. It is "business as usual at Control Engineering Europe," IML adds.

In a message on Control Engineering’s Web site, the magazine`s staff say: “We are proud of the role we have played in helping our loyal readers, advertisers and partners. Thank you for your support.”

In July 2009, RBI’s parent Reed Elsevier announced plans to divest magazines representing about 45% of its US revenues. Since then it has found buyers for 21 titles – including Test & Measurement World, Packaging Digest, and Design News – representing about two-thirds of the revenue of the portfolio being divested. But it failed to find buyers for the remaining 23 controlled-circulation publications, which are now closing.

In a memo to his staff, RBI chief executive, Keith Jones said that “these publications have had very experienced, professional and committed teams running them in the most difficult of circumstances. However, their trading performances have been under pressure for some time and the impact of the recession and media migration in the markets for these titles is such that we cannot see our way back to profitable growth.”

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