Jane Pratt, the founder of xoJane and xoVain, is departing Time Inc. this month, WWD has learned.
Pratt, who sold the titles to Time Inc. in 2015, is shopping her properties to publishers and investors.
Time Inc. confirmed the news, offering: “We will not be adding new content to xoJane. We will be folding it into InStyle.com at the end of the year.”
This means that when a user goes to xoJane.com, it will be redirected InStyle.com, giving the Time Inc.-owned title the traffic. (This appears to be the case at least until Pratt finds a suitor).
Pratt, who is rumored to have a year left on her Time Inc. contract, has been shopping her sites around to Vice Media; Bustle; Bono’s media company, Elevation Partners, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow via Goop, among others. (Bono and Paltrow are apparently Pratt’s friends). Angel investors based in Silicon Valley have been said to come forward recently as well.
The future of Pratt’s sites has generated a lot of buzz in the halls of Time Inc. of late. In September, WWD learned that Pratt had been interested in buying back xoJane and xoVain.
According to sources at the company, Pratt had grown frustrated with Time Inc.’s management of the brands. During Time Inc.’s restructuring, the sites had been largely left alone without much investment or attention from the company. Regardless, organic traffic numbers and engagement continued to grow, which has made the properties valuable for Time Inc.
With Pratt’s sites showing of growth, Time Inc. wanted to retain the traffic and redirect it to InStyle, in order to make the fashion site bigger. The tactic isn’t a new one for Time Inc. In March, the company launched the InStyle Collection, which included InStyle, Mimi, xoJane and The Outfit. That group was dismantled. Now, users trying to access Mimi’s site get redirected to InStyle.com, for example.