Is Time Inc about to be taken private?

A little over a month ago I wrote about the potential purchase of Playboy Enterprises by two Hollywood executives using an acquisition vehicle called Double Eagle. As yet nothing further seems to have transpired on this deal, but now another iconic publishing brand is subject to speculation that it too will be acquired and subsequently delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

Time Inc., the publishing and media company with titles such as Time, Sports Illustrated and InStyle, has reportedly received an offer that valued the company at around USD 1.78bn from Edgar Bronfman Jr., the former chairman and CEO of Warner Music, who teamed with Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries to table the offer. Time Inc’s shareholders have reportedly rejected this approach on the grounds that the company is worth more and now Meredith Corporation, the Des Moines-based media and publishing company with a host of local and national media titles, is reported to be about to table a bid.

Media and publishing companies have long since offered their print titles as “online” and tablet friendly versions, thus moving away from traditional ad-based revenues and opening up a realm of other revenue streams. Media speculation linking Meredith and Time has seen both companies’ share prices increase, but there would be a number of subject areas where both companies have overlapping titles, so one would have to assume that should a deal proceed there would be a consolidation exercise to follow. Meredith was linked to Time Inc. when the business was spun out from Time Warner in 2014 and underwent its IPO, so industry experts think this would be a natural tie-up.