For Sale: Fast Company

Our corporate parent publicly hung a "For Sale" sign on the magazine today. Gruner & Jahr USA sold four of its women's service magazines to Meredith and announced that it would seek a buyer for both Fast Company and Inc.

Understandably, it's a difficult and sad day at the office. The faces at my staff meeting today showed much worry and concern as well as frustration. I understand those feelings because I share them. And more than that, I am deeply disappointed in G&J's decision to leave the U.S. magazine market where it has had a significant presence for the past 15 years.

At Fast Company, putting out this magazine every month, is not merely a job for us. The editors, writers, artists, and production folks not only bring their intellect to the job of creating a world-class product for our readers. They bring their hearts and souls to Fast Company each and every day. For us, this magazine is a teaching community: It's about personal growth, learning, and making a meaningful difference in the lives of our readers. We're extremely proud of our work and feel honored to serve our readers as best we can.

Over the next few weeks, as my team struggles with the uncertainty and worry that inevitably comes during a transition like this, I want every reader to know that we intend to work as hard and as smart as humanly possible. Our goal: to continue to publish what we believe is the best business magazine on the planet. And I want to publicly thank each and every member of my editorial, advertising, and marketing staffs for believing in us.

Thanks for all your support and understanding. The best is yet to come.

John A. Byrne
Editor-in-Chief
Fast Company

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33 Comments

  • Delta 4

    It's me, Delta 4 again.

    You are in a battle for your lives. Act like it and take matters into your hands. PURCHASE THE DAMN COMPANY. Stop fuckin around. We need your guys to continue publishing. Not Brian Tierney and his republican gangster-capitalist horde.

    Reading some of the comments at your site make me want to vomit. There's no fight in their comments. "Transition" Bullshit. Who are these people? White liberals who are happy and a fat and living off of their parents and grand parents wealth?

    Now get busy and act like your lives and those of your family members' depended on you doing a successful MBO.

  • Delta 4

    Please purchase the company for your readers' sake. Let's see what you and your management team are made of. You've got the contacts. Now get busy and do a management buy out!!!!!!!!

  • Andrew

    Already said, but worth repeating: You produce a terrific, valuable magazine that has helped my career, and on more than one occasion, changed my thinking. And as the comments above validate, I'm not the only one who would disagree with the notion that FC is "more of an idea than an actual magazine." I hope that you all can continue efforts in some form.

  • Jodee Bock

    There's really not much more I can add to the great comments already here, but I just felt the need to add my voice to those supporting FC, and especially Heath and his efforts.

    Fast Company has been a huge part of my career (and personal) transformation in the past 10 years and while I feel a sense of tredipation over the pending sale, the things I have learned from FC over the years give me a lot of reasons to be optimistic, too.

    This is surely one of the transformational opportunities for the FC staff that all of the FC fans out there face in their job situations, and read about in the pages of the magazine. I'll be watching with support am confident that an innovative solution will emerge.

    Love and light to all the FC staff and readers!

  • Ed Brenegar

    I, like Ann Valtine, have read FC since its founding, and it is the only business mag that gets my subscription money. I believe in what you do.

    Now, managing a transition when the future is unknown has to be approached optimistically and opportunistically.

    Not only should you catalog the change, but blog it as well. Take advantage of the opportunity to show the value of the magazine by capturing a perspective on organizational change that is not a set of abstract ideas or even a detached report about some other company.

    The reality is that whether businesses are being sold or not, they are in transition, and here's the opportunity to look more deeply and personally into the experience that FC will go through.

    If business is personal, then this transition is too, and your loyal readers will stick with you because live what you espouse.

    As you go through this time of transition, your staff and their families are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • John A. Byrne

    Thanks for your kind words and thoughts. They are much appreciated by all of us here at Fast Company. And we expect a positive outcome when all is said and done. Stay tuned.

  • Jennifer Warwick

    I know you will make it through this adventure with a reenergized and even more laser-focused mission. I'm an entrepreneur these days, mainly due to possibilities I saw for the first time in the pages of FC. FC and Worthwhile are my two regular business mag subscriptions, and the two business mag RSS sites on my start page.

    I've subscribed since nearly the beginning, when I was just hitting my stride in my conventional career, and can say without reservation that the FC content and style contributed to my personal and professional success. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the groundbreaking work of FC helped make Worthwhile even possible!

    I've kept every FC back issue, even though I could likely find the content on the web now, because I love the look and feel of each piece - the colors, the layout, the visuals, the *heft.* Best wishes on navigating this new territory. Can't wait to see what's next.

  • maria

    I've been a loyal reader since your third issue (and I also read Inc.). I have to say, personally, I think you'll be better off without G&J. I'm not sure they share your mission or passion for what you do, and I have felt that way from the moment they acquired you. I believe it is strictly an economic issue for them (sorry to sound cynical). A business has to make money, of course, but it's the life of the business and the benefit it provides to others that create the bonds with customers, and it's those bonds that lead to economic prosperity and a future.

    I agree with the people who suggested going back to your roots and looking to your own magazine for the solution. I think you'll find a buyer who will let you do your best work. And, if that fails (which I don't it will), maybe you can all go work for Worthwhile Magazine.

  • rustyvz

    I really hope all goes well and FC continues on forever. I read each issue, cover to cover (even the design and hero issues!) and always pick up good stuff. I really like the articles on companies like WalMart and how they operate, and the whole outsourcing issue coverage.

    That, and I just re-upped for another 2 year subscription. I don't mind the loss of money, I mind the loss of the ONLY print magazine I read on a regular basis.

    Live long and profit!

  • Chris Woodruff

    I have enojoyed FC since 1997 and hope that a strong leader will bring FC the vision and allow it to continue to grow and share the cutting edge to its readers.

  • Nerio Vakil

    Maybe it's time for things to get better. If the parent company's views are different from the readers who look forward to the knowledge you supply, maybe you need to be adopted by a parent who thinks differently.

    To quote Peter Drucker, "The purpose of a business is to create customers" and Fast Company doesn't fall short in this purpose. John, as long as you have customers, you have a business. And let me assure you, your customers need you.

    If better sense does not prevail with G & J, you're better off without them. I'm sure whoever buys out will know the intrinsic value of Fast Company and things will only get better.

    Good luck and all good wishes your way.

  • Clint Schaff

    Wow. This could be good.

    Whatever happens, keep the preservation and growth of the FC community a priority.

    It seems to me that all the really cool Heath Row projects aren't as visible and plentiful as they once were -- Really innovative stuff like the Road Shows and the CoF.

    Get back to the grassroots. Give us more Heath Row, and Heath Row-esque content and inspiration.

  • David Martin

    You need only look into your own pages to find the solution to your present situation. Make a strong business case for going forward, should you then not survive it will not be because your owner got out of the market, it will more likely be you simply failed to get into the market.

  • johnmoore (from brandautopsy)

    The business world cannot afford to lose the aspirational voice of Fast Company. Here's hoping a buyer will emerge who understands the valuable contribution Fast Company can STILL have.

  • Teresa Pudi

    I hope this is NOT part of a bigger issue, Outsourcing America. And what are we going to do about that?

    As far as the for sale of the Fast Company? Some of the comments from readers are very wise and perhaps worth considering. If done well they could work. There needs to be a champion with a drive and a passion to continue the Fast Company to be the Best of the Best! It has been done in the past, and this could be a case study of the Fast Company. I am already envisioning the title - "How we dealt with FOR SALE issue of our own Fast Company and trived..."

    All the best!

    Teresa

  • IndyChristian

    We wish you well and will pray that you'll reflect back on this someday as the best thing that ever happened to you and FC.

  • Shena Ni

    Hang tough guys, it doesn't have to be a bad thing...change is (or at least, can be) good, which you tell us all the time.

    Need inspiration? Do what I do. Read through back issues of FC, snag a quote that sings to your soul, make it your mantra and theme song, then carry on. When it loses it's power to recharge and/or heal, go get another one. Whether you've got your chin up or sunk in your chest, just keep moving.

    You FC folks have pulled me through a profitable career change and two successful job jumps. You've talked it, now walk it.

    Blessings to all in your work family,
    Shena

  • Robert Ellis

    It is jarring news to find out you are being sold to the highest bidder. It is not unlike how slaves must have felt.

    If I were you I would turn this development to my advantage by buying the magazine. Negotiate a firm price and start raising funds (equity & debt) at the same time. After you own it, seek more equity investors, or take it public to pay off the debt. Try to limit the ownership of any equity investor, or you will end up with someone sitting on your desk asking how much profit you are going to make today. Plus,the same thing could happen again in few years.

    Whatever you do, I hope FAst Company remains the bright shining light of business publications. I'll be sick if it morphs into Business Week.

  • Michele Miller

    We are sending all good vibes your way. You have a huge fan base out there and a bevy of devoted readers. For G&J to bail now, just when small business in the U.S. is ready to explode, just shows their lack of foresight.

    Keep the faith - we love you!