Recovering value destroyed by "synergy"

McClatchy is thinking about selling its share in the online job site CareerBuilder. That’s an idea worth considering.
I’ve come to believe that more value has been destroyed in the pursuit of false synergies than any other boardroom fad of the last 20 years. Imagine for a moment that (1) McClatchy could bank the value of its stake in CareerBuilder, and (2) McClatchy’s newspapers were free to negotiate the best possible deal for employment classifieds. Monster and HotJobs are now eagerly negotiating deals with the newspapers. What would it be worth to CareerBuilder to keep McClatchy on board? How much value would that create?
It’s enough to make you wonder how much value was created by CareerBuilder and how much was simply transfered from McClatchy’s (and Gannett’s and Tribune’s) newspapers to CareerBuilder in the first place.
Intermediaries on the Web are going to be increasing their clout, and it’s time for everyone to reexamine all their cozy corporate distribution deals to see if they’re creating or destroying value.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.