Technology-oriented publishing group Red Herring Communications is reportedly looking for a buyer, as the market for new-media magazines continues to shrink in tandem with the tech sector as a whole.

Red Herring, say insiders, has already approached the Time division of AOL Time Warner as well as Ziff Davis Media in recent weeks. However, neither prospective suitor decided to pursue the flirtation.

As befits the company’s name, firm details are sketchy – it is not known whether Red Herring, which also owns website, research and conference divisions, wants to sell out completely or simply offload the magazine unit.

This air of mystery was carefully preserved by the firm’s senior vp–marketing Ross Settles, who commented: “We are talking to a lot of different people about a lot of different things.” Piling on the ambiguities, he added that Red Herring does not even need to sell, following a recent round of new funding.

The group’s flagship magazine Red Herring, which saw ad pages decrease by 28% in the first quarter, is not the only title to suffer in the tech publishing world following the dotcom downturn. The UK’s Future Network has also been in talks with Time for several weeks with a view to disposing of its own new-media title, Business 2.0 [WAMN: 11-Apr-01].

News source: Wall Street Journal