Bowker Buys Simba

Simba Information, Inc. has been bought by R.R. Bowker from PRIMEDIA, Inc. Well-known to many Internet pioneers, Simba was one of the first companies to provide market intelligence about the Internet to media professionals. Its new owner, Bowker, itself privately owned by Cambridge Information Group, is primarily known as known for its directories and publications aimed at publishers and librarians. The Simba sale is part of PRIMEDIA’s (currently leaderless [registration site]) continuing efforts to sell assets and reduce its debts — currently US$2.2 billion, a legacy of its acquisition spree during the Internet boom.

As good a company as Bowker is, we don’t think this sale will bode well for Simba. Many analysis companies like Simba were either sold during the Internet Boom by their initial owners or else filed for bankruptcy during the Internet Bust. In either case, the sharpest of editors and analysts at those companies often left during those events. Of course, there are exceptions to this (see item above).