Time Inc. is said to be up for sale in Deal backed by Koch Brothers


Some Koch allies have suggested that the brothers would have no operational control over the company and that they saw their investment simply as an opportunity to earn money. But others who are familiar with the Koch's thinking speculate that they intend to use the properties of the media, which reach millions of print and online readers, to promote their brand of conservatism. The investment would also give the Kochs a way to combine the arsenal of electoral information held by a data badysis company controlled by its network, i360, with the editors' consumption data.

What the Koch are planning, the sale of Time Inc. almost certainly means the beginning of the end of what was once the most famous magazine publisher in the country.


It was not clear how much influence, if any, the Koch brothers would have on Time Inc., if the deal were completed.

Richard Drew / Associated Press

also underlines how inhospitable the environment has become for the magazine companies, which have collapsed under the pressure of declining print advertising and circulation. Rodale, the publisher of Men & # 39; s Health and Runner & # 39; s World, recently announced that it had been sold to Hearst, owner of Cosmopolitan and Esquire. Rolling Stone, once considered a countercultural bible, is exploring a sale. In July, Emerson Collective, the organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, acquired a majority stake in The Atlantic.

For Meredith, the acquisition of Time Inc. would represent a largely elusive victory. An agreement between the two publishers collapsed in 2013 after Meredith allegedly said he did not want to acquire some of Time Inc.'s best-known titles, including Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Meredith also expressed interest in buying Time Inc. earlier this year before it left, in part because it could not secure enough financing. (Time Inc. subsequently said that it had decided not to sell).

Meredith is, in a way, the opposite of Time Inc. Their popular magazines focus on families and women and are more directed to Middle America than to society in high society. Instead of a costly Manhattan headquarters, Meredith occupies a campus in Des Moines, Iowa. That, along with its diversified portfolio – the company also owns local television stations – has allowed Meredith to weather the economic storm quite well.

The history of Time Inc. has been less optimistic. After Time Warner, the home of HBO and Warner Bros., broke away from Time Inc. in 2014, the publisher was left to fend for himself in a world that gave more and more importance to print media. Tormented by relentless cost cuts and executive turnover, the company has struggled to articulate a business strategy less focused on the printed page.

Rich Battista, who was named executive director of Time Inc. last year, and new director of operations, Jen Wong, embarked on an aggressive strategy to increase digital revenues, including improving technology capabilities advertising and the offer of services paid to customers, such as pet insurance and a food and wine club. The company had also allocated $ 400 million in cost cuts.

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