History of the press
For the first several decades of its history, Ziff-Davis, founded in 1927 by William Ziff Sr. and Bernard Davis, remained a general interest magazine publisher. But after Ziff died in 1956, it expanded its reach. William Ziff Jr. achieved remarkable success creating special interest magazines. In 1994, he sold off Ziff-Davis Publishing to Forstmann Little & Co. A year later, the Japanese conglomerate Softbank purchased 70 percent of Ziff-Davis for $2.1 billion and changed the company name back to Ziff-Davis Inc. But Softbank, battered by the Asian financial crisis, watched in despair as Ziff-Davis failed to make a profit quarter after quarter.
Everything must go!
Plagued by high debt levels and poor performance ever since it went public in 1995, the Ziff-Davis publishing empire has been dismantled, with only a related Internet network called ZDNet left behind. In November 1999, Ziff-Davis sold its publishing division and 80-plus titles to Willis Stein & Partners, a Chicago-based investment firm, for $780 million. The deal included the transfer of industry publications such as PC Magazine, PC Week, and Yahoo! Internet Life. After the acquisition, the publishing division became known as Ziff Davis Media Inc.
The sale of Ziff-Davis's publishing arm followed previous decisions to strip off the Market Intelligence business unit to Harte-Hanks Inc., the business-to-business IT learning division to U.S. Equity Partners LP, and ZDTV to Vulcan Ventures Inc. The spinoff of ZD Events, the producer of the famed Comdex electronics trade show, completed the dismantling of Ziff-Davis. Key3Media Group Inc., formerly controlled by Ziff-Davis, now will operate ZD Events independently. Ziff-Davis plans to merge its remaining pieces, including Computer Shopper and a stake in Red Herring, into ZDNet.
All over the world
Adding global reach across 25 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America to the technology information company, CNET acquired chief rival Ziff-Davis in July 2000. For $1.6 billion in stock, CNET bought Ziff-Davis's Computer Shopper, a technology publication and Web site, Smart Planet, an online educational service focused on the technology industry, and online property ZDNet. Ziff-Davis CEO Dan Rosensweig became president, while CNET President Rich Marino became chief operating officer; CNET chief exec Shelby Bonnie remained CEO of the combined entity. The new entity will have 1,600 employees and more than $500 million in revenue in 2001.
Depending on location, employment opportunities are currently available in most units, including Marketing, Sales, Information Technology, and Creative Services.
Ziff-Davis claims to look for "self-starters" who are "honest, competitive, dedicated, and hard-working, routinely pushing the envelope and going the extra mile" (it seems that the use of cliches is also acceptable). Application information, including appropriate addresses and contacts, is listed under each individual job description.
The young, fun-loving staff at Ziff-Davis appreciate the opportunity to explore the latest trends in technology in a laid-back, social setting. Employees praise the sharp technical expertise and writing skills of their colleagues, whose interest computer technology sometimes borders on the obsessive.
Editorial staff regularly wear shorts, and they work flexible schedules that are generally short; most work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Publishing deadlines, however, regularly cause the staff's work schedules to balloon. While the acquisition of Ziff-Davis by a Japanese publishing and software giant has yet to have an impact on the company's day-to-day operation, the move has left some employees nervous about the security of their jobs. They complain that Ziff-Davis does not communicate well, even when their jobs are on the line.
Comdex; Network+Interop; Seybold Seminars; Others
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