ISE’s closure is a sign of more US retrenchment

The Industry Standard Europe (ISE) magazine has closed after just six months, another sign of US retrenchment in the face of a weakening global Internet economy.

The London-based new media magazine’s US owner, Standard Media International, has come under fire for not making strategic cuts earlier and thus preventing the sudden closure of its European off-shoot (although its website will remain active for the moment).

“You have to wonder why it couldn’t have slashed some of the extremely generous salaries being paid to US staff before pulling the plug on an important new market,” says one insider.

Several rounds of job cuts have been announced in the US but until now the ISE had survived unscathed.

ISE is known to have approached several major UK publishers recently with a view to taking equity stakes in it. These included Pearson, owner of the Financial Times and FT.com, which was already an investor.

But it seems they were put off by the title’s limited brand awareness outside the US and by the owner’s decision to franchise the operation across different countries. “It’s not so appealing when you’re buying into something that ultimately you don’t control,” says the director of one publishing company that was approached.

The swiftness of ISE’s closure, which took many of the 60 UK staff by surprise, echoes the fate of another high-profile US departure from these shores: financial website TheStreet.co.uk was closed by owner TheStreet.com last year despite beating its revenue targets.

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