The big sell-off has started. Pressured by board members who want to see more profits, and shareholders anxious for bigger dividends, Time Inc has started selling off some of its less profitable magazines. The news – although not unexpected – has reverberated through the American publishing industry. Time Inc has always been regarded as one of the more invulnerable companies.
Among the magazines up for sale: Ski, Field & Stream, Popular Science, Outdoor Life, Motor Boating and Yachting. Altogether about 18 titles have got the For Sale label on them. Among the magazines expected to escape the sell-off is Golf Magazine and This Old House.
The big sale follows a year of unrelenting pressure on Time Inc to improve its revenues – and already has led to nearly 500 layoffs, and the closure recently of Teen People, a spin off from People magazine, and the shut down after just six months of its web site Office Pirates, which was aimed at young hip American businessmen Another 500 or more employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the big sale.
A spokeswoman for the company confessed: “This has not been an easy decision. They are all vibrant publications. From now on however we will be concentrating on our biggest brands. By focusing our attention and financial recourses on these world famous brands will best position Time In for growth” By which the spokesman was referring to such magazines as Time, Sports Illustrated and People, all publications with multi million circulations. And their developing web spin-offs.
Even after the projected sales, Time Inc, the spokeswoman pointed out, will still publish over 100 magazines around the world and 32 in the United States.
The sale, its estimated, could fetch as much as $400 million. Possible
interested buyers include Hearst, Rodale, Conde Nast, Hachette Filipacchi,
plus a number of smaller independently owned companies. including the Carlyle
Group, a company that recently hired former Time Inc's editor-in-chief Norman