Bloomberg expects to name BusinessWeek editor before deal closes

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TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE

Bloomberg LP is expected to announce who will be the next editor of BusinessWeek magazine before its deal to acquire the weekly closes on Dec. 1, according to Bloomberg staffers who attended a meeting Tuesday about the deal.

Current editor Steve Adler resigned a week after the deal was announced. Candidates include journalists from within BusinessWeek, within Bloomberg, and outside both entities, according to those at the meeting.

The meeting was conducted by Norm Pearlstine, the former head of Time Inc. magazines and former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal who is now at Bloomberg and will become chairman of BusinessWeek when the deal closes.

“I have to admit, in terms of his comfort level, he seemed the most in his element talking about this project than anything else I’ve heard him speak” about, said one Bloomberg staff member.

Pearlstine also discussed a redesign of the magazine, which would focus on making it more competitive with The Economist and less like Fortune and Forbes.

There was also talk of increasing the number of pages for editorial content in BusinessWeek, and a discussion of how much of the BusinessWeek staff would remain after the deal closes. The indication from Pearlstine was that he didn’t see much of a staff reduction, if any.

Pearlstine also discussed how BusinessWeek and Bloomberg would integrate their editorial content.

Pearlstine used the example of a BusinessWeek staff member interviewing Dell CEO Michael Dell. If the interview resulted in breaking news, then that story would appear on Bloomberg. But if the interview resulted in a broader story about Dell’s corporate strategy, then it would hold the story for the magazine.

In addition, Pearlstine praised BusinessWeek’s coverage of management issues and technology, and there was some discussion as to how its Web site fits into changes underway at Bloomberg.com, which is being repositioned to attract more of an upper management readership.