16 February 2019
Time Inc. has been grappling with declining advertising and newsstand revenue. Photo: Time
Time Inc. has been grappling with declining advertising and newsstand revenue. Photo: Time

Time hires banks to help field takeover, partnership interest

Time Inc., the publisher of Time, People and Fortune magazines, has hired Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. to help field takeover or partnership interest, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

The largest US magazine publisher took the move after it received overtures from a group of media investors including Edgar Bronfman Jr., the newspaper said, adding that it is far from guaranteed there will be a sale of the company or any other deal.

Shares of Time closed up 8 percent at US$17.75 on Thursday, according to Reuters. They touched more than a year high of US$17.95 on the WSJ report.

Like many other publishers, Time has been grappling with declining advertising and newsstand revenue, the Journal said.

Last month, the company reported that third-quarter revenue fell 3 percent from a year earlier to US$750 million.

It cut its full-year revenue guidance to flat to 1 percent lower, from an earlier forecast of a growth of up to 1.5 percent.

It has been trying to develop new lines of digital business to offset steady print-advertising declines. the newspaper said.

The company rejected a takeover bid from Bronfman, the New York Post reported last month.

Bronfman, former chief executive of Warner Music Group, made the bid along with Russian billionaire Leonard Blavatnik and Israeli businessman Ynon Kreiz, according to the New York Post.

The WSJ, citing bankers and investors, reported on Thursday that Meredith Corp. could be a potential bidder. 

Time held talks with Meredith in 2013 to sell the majority of its magazine division.

A Time spokesman said it is against the company’s policy to comment on “such speculation”.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment, while Meredith and Bank of America were not immediately available for comment.

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