LONDON — After months of rumors, the private equity firm Epiris on Monday confirmed its purchase of Time Inc. U.K., one of Britain’s largest consumer magazine and digital publishers, from Meredith Corp.
Epiris said it aims “to transform businesses in partnership with exceptional management teams,” and targets U.K.-centric businesses with an enterprise value of between 75 million pounds and 500 million pounds.
The terms of the Time Inc. deal were not disclosed.
Rumors of a sale to Epiris first broke in October, with Sky News reporting that Morgan Stanley was handling the sale of Time’s U.K. division, with talks said to be advanced.
Sky said the headline value of a deal for Time Inc U.K., was likely to be in the region of 200 million pounds, although industry sources said the valuation was lower than that.
Time Inc. U.K. has more than 50 brands that specialize in areas ranging from entertainment and women’s lifestyle to luxury, sports and technology. Among its best-known titles are Wallpaper, Woman’s Weekly, Country Life, Decanter, Cycling Weekly and Horse & Hound.
Like most old media companies, it has struggled to deal with the fast-changing media landscape. Over the past few years, management reacted by feverishly cutting costs without laying out a coherent strategy for the titles.
Alex Fortescue, managing partner of Epiris, said: “This deal is a complex corporate carve-out of the type in which we specialize. The business itself offers plentiful scope for transformation through operational improvement and M&A.”
Chris Hanna, partner at Epiris, said: “At its heart this is a diverse, robust and cash-generative business. We intend to bring clarity and simplicity to it, to focus on maximizing the potential of its high-quality portfolio.”
Marcus Rich, chief executive officer of Time Inc. U.K., said: “Epiris shares the same vision for our business and we are excited by the fresh insight they will bring as we shape our shared plans for the business in the years ahead.”
The transaction was led for Epiris LLP by Chris Hanna, Ian Wood and Nicola Gray. Epiris is being advised by Jefferies International, PwC and Macfarlanes. Debt is being provided by Ares Management and HSBC.