Shares of Time Inc. dipped 3.2 percent Wednesday following reports that Meredith Corp.’s preliminary bid fell short of expectations.
According to people familiar with the process, talks between Meredith and other interested bidders are still progressing. A timetable is said to be “fluid” and without a strict deadline.
Time Inc.’s stock settled at $18.35, after it had closed at $18.95 a share a day earlier. The decline follows weeks of speculation that Meredith, the Des Moines-based magazine publisher and broadcast company, is the leading candidate to acquire the New York-based firm.
Earlier this year, 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 around $1.8 billion. Sources believe that Time Inc. is looking for at least $20 a share.
Time Inc., which netted $3.08 billion in revenue in 2016 but posted a $48 million net loss, carries $1.24 billion in long-term debt. Its operating income before depreciation and amortization for the year totaled $414 million.
People familiar with the situation said that preliminary valuation bids are routine and help the company determine if its wants to move forward.
Time Inc., which owns magazines such as InStyle, Fortune, Southern Living, Sports Illustrated, Travel + Leisure and Real Simple, declined to comment on the status of the sale.
Aside from Meredith, interested parties have included a group led by Jahm Najafi, chief executive officer of the Phoenix-based investment firm Najafi Cos.; private-equity firm Pamplona Capital Management. It could not be determined if any other parties have entered into the picture since last month.