Time Inc. is looking to sell various magazine titles, after the company slashed 300 jobs last month.
The New York-based publisher said it is “exploring” the sale of three of its titles — Coastal Living, which is based in Birmingham, Ala.; Sunset, based in Oakland, Calif., and the New York-based Golf.
The news follows reports that Time Inc. also is trying to sell a majority stake in Essence, the African-American media brand.
“Our plan is to retain a stake in Essence, working with the right partner to accelerate the brand’s growth,” a spokesman said, citing the title’s live events business and social reach, among other things.
The move comes after Time Inc. had entertained offers for the sale of the entire company earlier this year. After months of speculation over a possible sale, Time Inc. finally called off the process in April. During that period, Time Inc.’s shares had been trading at around $18 each and possible bidders were said to have included a group led by Jahm Najafi, chief executive officer of the Phoenix-based investment firm Najafi Cos.; private-equity company Pamplona Capital Management, and media group Meredith Corp. — long rumored to be the most likely suitor. According to reports, Time Inc. rejected a takeover bid from Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Ynon Kreiz that valued the company in the $18 to $20 a share range, or at around $1.8 billion.
Since then, shares of the company have slumped in the $14 range. On Tuesday, the shares closed at $14.30, up a dime for the day.
When the company rolled out its new strategic plan in June, president and ceo Rich Battista told WWD that there would no longer be any “people”-focused cost cuts and, instead, it would consider offers for individual titles.
Although there has not been any word of bids, there has been some buzz about potential suitors such as Meredith and Hearst. Insiders mused that private equity firm Clear View Group, which owns Ebony and Jet, could make a play for Essence, while regional magazine Garden & Gun could make a run at Sunset.
But Time Inc.’s titles aren’t the only magazines on the selling block: rival Rodale put itself up for sale last month. Meredith, Hearst and American Media Inc. are said to be circling that company which, according to reports, set a deadline of Aug. 3 for bids. Looks like summer may be busier than expected for magazine publishers — or at least their sellers.