Congressional Quarterly joins Roll Call Group to form major Beltway player

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Roll Call Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Economist Group, has acquired Congressional Quarterly (CQ) in a move to cement its hold on the DC political market. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement is expected to close in Q3 2009.

CQ, a magazine for Congressmen and other DC insiders, and its Web site, will join the newly formed CQ-Roll Call Group, which also includes 2008 Roll Call acquisition Capitol Advantage, the weekday daily Roll Call magazine, CongressNow wire service and other content sources. For now, Roll Call plans to continue publishing all editorial products separately. No changes are planned for the magazines' lists or rental strategies; Roll Call rents paid subscribers through Political Resources Inc.

“These are two businesses that fit together perfectly: CQ has been the publication of record for factual, unbiased, authoritative news, and Roll Call has been about the people the politics, the process behind the scenes,” said Laurie Battaglia, managing director and EVP of Roll Call Group. “No other media company offers that product mix.”

She added that CQ's strong subscription-based print business and recent efforts in digital also made it an attractive buy, as did the major overlap in the publications' reader bases. In print, CQ Weekly has a total paid circulation of 14,537, and daily newsletter CQ Today has a paid circulation of 10,705, per BPA's June 2008 report.

“We have a lot of the same customers because our primary audience is Congress, so now we can continue to market the same products to a lot of the same customers,” Battaglia pointed out.

The Jordan, Edmiston Group Inc. (JEGI) represented CQ in the deal. The magazine was put on the block by Times Publishing Co., which decided to focus on its newspaper business with the St. Petersburg Times. Times Publishing will also retain its Governing Magazine division in Washington, DC.

Most of CQ's staff will stay on with the publication, but CQ president and editor in chief Robert Merry will leave the publication, as will CQ editor and SVP Mike Riley. Roll Call's Battaglia and editorial director Mike Mills will oversee both publications. The publications' marketing and sales departments will be consolidated to offer joint services.

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