International Data Group, the company behind tech publications ComputerWorld and InfoWorld, a raft of trade shows, and the International Data Corp. research firm, has hired Goldman Sachs to explore strategic options, sources at the company confirmed Friday.
Insiders said they’ve been told of four possible scenarios: An outright sale to a third party, a management buyout, an investment by venture capital firms, or nothing. The preference is to sell the entire company as a unit, but all options are on the table.
Fortune reached out to IDG for comment and will update this story as needed.
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The news leaked Thursday when Colin Crawford, a former IDG executive, tweeted about it.
The company, more commonly known as IDG, was founded by MIT graduate Patrick McGovern in 1964 and was a pioneer in what became the extremely lucrative field of technology publications with the launch of Computerworld in 1967.
MORE: On IDG Founder Pat McGovern
For more than 20 years, those thick weeklies chronicled the latest and greatest (as well as the worst) of mainframe, minicomputer technology before refocusing on the smaller desktop machines from IBM
and associated software.
It also hosted several successful trade shows, including the twice-a-year Macworld Expo conference, devoted to all things Apple and typically keynoted by Steve Jobs, which fueled the company’s growth and profitability.
McGovern kept the company private, although there was always speculation about an IPO. When McGovern died in March of 2014, many predicted the company would go up for sale.
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Like other publishers, IDG brands suffered steep declines in sales and revenue as more content went online where ad sales were nowhere near as lucrative as print advertisements. Over the past 15 years, most of the publications cut costs on postage and paper by going online-only. Apple stopped supporting Macworld Expo, instead devoting its resources and star power to its own events, another trend that hurt IDG.
The company’s last U.S. print publication, CIO, went all online in December, although there are still a few print publications for non-domestic markets.