Time Inc (US)

Time Inc was until 2014 the magazine publishing division of media giant Time Warner. Later independent, it remained the world's biggest magazine publisher, with more than 120 magazines and almost 146m readers a month, but performance has been in steep decline for several years. Its US titles include three of the country's biggest magazines in People, Sports Illustrated and Time, while its European operations were greatly enhanced by the purchase in 2001 of IPC Media, the UK's #1 consumer publisher. Group revenues peaked at a little under $5.0bn in 2006, but Time Inc struggled to cope with the crushing decline in print advertising revenues since then. In 2013, talks to sell the bulk of its titles to rival Meredith ended without agreement; instead Time Warner spun off the business as an independent public company in early 2014 under chairman & CEO Joseph Ripp. Rich Battista succeeded Ripp as CEO in 2016. Revenues slumped to a new low of $3.08bn that year, and a second consecutive net loss. Since the end of 2016, the company has received several approaches from potential acquirors, but withdrew from negotiations in early 2017 pledging to take its chances as a standalone business. However, the economic climate continued to worsen for Time, and a few months later, Meredith was back in contact. The smaller company eventually secured a deal to acquire Time Inc for $2.8bn in cash and debt. The UK division was sold off in 2018 to private equity. Founded in 1922 by journalists Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, Time magazine is still one of the world's best-known magazine brands. Fortune was created eight years later to give greater weight to Time's business coverage and after WWII the company moved into book publishing and eventually cable TV. Its investment in the Turner cable empire led to a mammoth merger with fellow shareholder Warner Bros in 1989. Adbrands does not currently profile this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.

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Capsule checked 20th February 2017

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 31st May 2018: Meredith Corporation has received interest from as many as 80 potential bidders, according to Vanity Fair, for the quartet of Time Inc titles it has put up for sale: Time itself, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money. An offer of $300m for all four from National Enquirer publisher David Pecker was quickly declined. Indeed, Sports Illustrated alone is expected to go for more than $200m. An unnamed insider told Vanity Fair "We're all crossing our fingers for a benevolent billionaire. Everyone looks at The Washington Post under Jeff Bezos and is praying for the same." Meanwhile, Time's UK division - the one-time IPC Magazines - is to rebrand as TI Media in June, following its acquisition by private equity firm Epiris. It remains one of the leaders in the much diminished UK magazine market with a stable of around 40 titles including Marie Claire, Woman, Wallpaper and Country Life. "We are proud of all we have achieved as Time Inc UK over the last four years and, before that, as IPC Media over many years," said chief executive Marcus Rich. "While we wanted our new name to speak to that successful past – with the T of Time Inc and the I of IPC – we also wanted it to be adaptable to suit the ways we will evolve and look to extend that success under our new ownership."

Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Mar 2018: The dismantling of what was until recently the world's biggest magazine publisher continues. Following on its acquisition of Time Inc, Meredith Corp officially put on the sales block another collection of that sadly diminished behemoth's flagship brands. We're not talking niche anymore. Buyers are now sought for Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Money and indeed Time itself. Hardly surprising considering those titles' poor fit with Meredith's existing housewife-friendly portfolio, but it rather makes you wonder what the point was of buying Time Inc in the first place. Just for People? Around 1,200 employees will also be looking for new jobs. Time Inc's UK division - the former IPC Magazines - and niche titles Sunset, Essence and Golf have already been sold to private equity. Buyers for the latest orphans are also likely to be private equity investors or wealthy individuals with an interest in a vanity purchase.

Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Mar 2018: Another nail was hammered into the coffin of the global magazine industry this week. Time Inc agreed the sale of its UK subsidiary, the former IPC Magazines, to London-based private equity firm Epiris. The sale of what was once Britain's mightiest "Ministry of Magazines" follows the purchase of Time's main US division by rival Meredith, which has no other operations in Britain. Time UK CEO Marcus Rich will continue to lead the business under Epiris's ownership. That firm has no other interests in the media sector. Its other UK investments include restaurant chain TGI Friday's, Hollywood Bowl bowling alleys and the online personalised gift service PhotoBox.

Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Feb 2018: Tom Harty, currently COO of US media group Meredith, was named as CEO designate of the soon to be completed merger of that group with larger rival Time. Current Meredith CEO Steve Lacy will move up to executive chairman of Meredith-Time Inc.

Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Nov 2017: Time Inc accepted an offer worth $2.8bn in cash and debt to be acquired by smaller rival Meredith Corporation. That long-expected deal - the two companies have been talking off and on about merger for years - was clinched with the injection of $650m of cash from Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who control Koch Industries, one of America's biggest private conglomerates. Their investment company will end up as the combined group's largest single shareholder with 10% of equity. Much has been made of the highly Conservative brothers' involvement, but a statement declared that they will not have a position on the board and "will have no influence on Meredith's editorial or managerial operations". According to several media reports, Time Inc employees were shocked that the deal had taken place, and that Meredith not Time will be the senior partner in the combination. Time "was once a very powerful, very important, very profitable force in the global publishing industry and an important player in the journalism world," said former editor-in-chief John Huey. "It's now a severely wounded animal." Huey's predecessor as editor-in-chief, Norman Pearlstine, commented "The reality is that Time was a print company that produced great consumer brands but they were not brands for which it was easy to make a transition in an age of mobile. You can point to lots of things that might have been done differently or might have been done better, but I'm not sure any of that could have overcome that basic reality." The enlarged Meredith inherits Time Inc's position as the global leader in what is now a rapidly declining magazine industry. Time, Sports Illustrated, People and other titles join Meredith's Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart Living and Family Circle. However, Meredith is firmly focused on the US market, where it also owns a collection of regional TV stations affiliated to one or other of the four main broadcast networks. Time is already seeking a buyer for most of its international division, primarily operating in the UK. Time Inc reported revenues of almost 2.9bn last year, but performance has been in steep decline since it was spun off from Time Warner in 2014. Meredith reported revenues last year of $1.7bn.

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