Reed Elsevier selling publications

CEO Tad Smith also stepping down

NEW YORK -- Reed Elsevier, the Dutch-English publishing company that owns a large number of media and entertainment business titles, plans to sell a number of its publications, including Multichannel News, Broadcasting & Cable and Publishers Weekly.

It will retain such titles as flagship pub Variety and entertainment directory LA411. The partial sales plan follows a failed attempt last year to sell the whole business-to-business publishing arm, Reed Business Information. Reed was unable to find a buyer willing to meet its price, which at one point was reportedly as high as $1.8 billion.

The company also said Thursday that Tad Smith will exit his post as CEO of RBI U.S. Executive vp and CFO John Poulin has been named acting CEO, reporting to RBI Global CEO Keith Jones.

Smith took over as CEO of the company in late 2005, replacing Jim Casella.

The company reported its latest financials Thursday, which included a small revenue gain of 3% for the first half of the year. Still, it said the ad market remained difficult in the business-to-business arena.

Jones cited the "far harsher advertising environment than any of us have experienced before" as the key driver for ensuring the portfolio of assets is "well-matched with our long-term ambitions."

Reed Elsevier competes in many publishing areas with the Nielsen Co., the corporate parent of The Hollywood Reporter.