Are Budgets about to Be Slashed at Condé Nast? (Update)

Panicked reports are emanating from 4 Times Square about an announcement everyone's expecting in the morning. Perhaps the long-dreaded cost-cutting recommendations from the McKinsey consultants who've been scrutinizing the expense accounts and budgets? Please email if you know more.

Update: The McKinsey report may not be released, but we are hearing that deep budget cuts, perhaps as much as the high-end estimates of 25%, will be announced in the morning. Last fall, when the luxury market began to crater, the glossy magazine publisher announced a 5% budget cut - a relatively mild trim for a company that has now seen ad pages plummet by as much as 30%. While trimming a quarter of any business's budget would be painful, such a cut would put Condé's costs in line with the drop in revenues they've experienced.

Yesterday, the New York Observer's John Koblin reported that the earliest anyone was expecting McKinsey to make its recommendations — which, let's be honest, are usually only bureaucratic cover for the decisions management has already made — was next Monday and the "totality of their recommendations" aren't due for another two or three weeks.

So this latest flurry of speculation could be something unrelated. At the moment, though, we hear that even magazine editors-in-chief and publishers are being kept (officially, anyway) in the dark about what the morning will bring. Or maybe this wave of panic is just indicative of the slumping magazine empire's mood. If you know what's sparked this round of chatter, please drop me a confidential email.