Time Inc.’s stock price jumped 24 percent to over $15.60 a share in midday trading, following a report on Wednesday night that the company is in talks to sell itself to Meredith Corp. in a deal backed by Charles and David Koch. Meredith’s stock likewise went up as a result, to $59.70 a share—a 10 percent increase.
Time Inc. said in late April that it had decided against selling itself after the company entertained bids in an unofficial exploration of a sale. That announcement came after Time Inc. had rejected a takeover bid from a group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Ynon Kreiz that valued the company in the $18 to $20 a share range, or around $1.8 billion, and put an end to months of industry speculation. The common-held wisdom was that the most likely suitor was Meredith Corp., the deeper pocketed Des Moines-based publisher of a stable of titles including Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens.
“The only logical acquirer is Meredith,” Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings credit analyst Minesh Patel told WWD at the time.
The billionaire libertarian Koch Brothers, whose company is based in Wichita, Kan., are known for supporting conservative causes, as well as philanthropic donations to civic and arts organizations. According to the report in The New York Times, the brothers have tentatively agreed to bolster Meredith’s offer with an equity injection of more than $500 million and a deal may be unveiled as shortly as after Thanksgiving.
Representatives from both Meredith and Time Inc. declined to comment.