Major Malaysian publishing house Blu Inc shuts, 200 staff laid off

Blu Inc was responsible for titles such as Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Cleo.

Malaysian publisher Blu Inc Media has shuttered, laying off over 200 staff across more than 20 print titles.

The company—one of the country's biggest magazine houses—has been operating since 1974 and became synonymous with glossy female titles such as Cosmopolitan, Her World, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, and Shape. It also carried Malay-language titles EH! and Glam.

The company has closed down with effect from today (April 30). In 2006, Blu Inc was merged under Singapore's SPH Magazines to operate as a single entity. From an internal memo obtained by Campaign Asia-Pacific, it is learnt that the company was already cutting losses prior to COVID-19.

The memo, authored by CEO Azliza Tajuddin, reads:

"We are in a period where there is little visibility on when we can see recovery from the economic turmoil resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our business has already been under tremendous challenge from digital disruption over the past few years.

"While we have made increasing investment to build our digital capabilities, it is still unclear whether we have gained sufficient traction while the losses continue to increase. With the current Movement Control Order (MCO) to contain COVID-19, the losses continued for the months of March and April and this trend is expected to continue for the next few months. It is uncertain if we will be able to see any light at the end of the tunnel."


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