Report: Time Warner in talks to sell People, other titles*

people.jpgAs envisioned, the Time Inc. publishing unit would be rolled into an independent company and sold off, according to a report in Fortune. Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune would not be included in the sale. Apparently, TW is in discussions with a potential buyer, although the story sounds like talks are in an early-ish stage. People, which is one of the most profitable magazines in the world, would be the prize catch. Time Warner does not break out financials for each of its titles and the valuations can get murky because of digital partnerships. From Fortune:

The move to divest Time Inc. -- the largest magazine publisher in the U.S. -- follows a decision by News Corporation (NWS) to split its film and television business and publishing assets into two companies. It's something of a shift for Bewkes, who had been touting the publishing group's gains in market share and its growing digital reach. But with its revenues down 6.6% and operating earnings falling 25.4% in 2012, Time Inc. has become an increasing drag on its corporate parent. Time Inc.'s revenue last year accounted for just under 12% of Time Warner's total sales of $28.7 billion. (The publishing unit generated $420 million in operating income in 2012.) Last month Time Inc. announced it would lay off 6% of its work force. In a memo dated Jan. 30, 2013, Time Inc. CEO Laura Lang -- who arrived just over a year ago from Digitas -- said "we must continue to transform our company into one that is leaner, more nimble and more innately multi-platform."

*Update: Meredith Corp. is being identified by several news outlets as the potential buyer.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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