Time Inc hires bankers to evaluate takeover or partnership interest

Time Inc, the owner and publisher of over 100 magazine brands including Time, has hired Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp to help field takeover or partnership interest, the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing familiar with the matter.

The move comes two weeks after Time rejected a takeover bid from consortium led by billionaire investor Edgar Bronfman Jr. (See: Time Inc rejects Edgar Bronfman Jr's $18 a share takeover bid) Bloomberg had then reported that Edgar Bronfman had offered between $18 and $20 a share, or as much as $2 billion, a 37-per cent premium to the trading price before the news broke.

It is far from guaranteed there will be a sale of the company or any other deal, the Journal said.

A Time Inc. spokesman would not confirm the report, saying the company doesn't comment on speculation.

Bronfman and his partners are still interested in Time Inc. as well as Iowa-based Meredith Corporation, which owns 17 TV stations and magazine titles including Shape, Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens.

Founded in 1922 by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, New York City-based Time Inc owns and publishes over 100 magazine brands, most notably its flagship Time magazine.

Its other magazines include Sports Illustrated, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Fortune, People, InStyle, Life, Golf Magazine, Southern Living, Essence, Real Simple, and Entertainment Weekly.

It also owns the UK magazine house Time Inc. UK, whose major titles include What's on TV, NME, Country Life, Wallpaper and InStyle.

Time Inc. also operates over 60 websites and digital-only titles including MyRecipes, TheSnug, HelloGiggles and MIMI.

Like many other publishers, Time Inc. has been hit by a decline in print ad sales since advertisers spend more on other media and readers increasingly move online, but its digital advertising is doing well with revenue rising 63 per cent in the latest quarter.

The company has also been saddled with $1.5 billion in debt after it spun off from Time Warner in June 2014.