Time Inc has confirmed that it will be proceeding with the sale of its UK arm and that the buyer will not be Meredith Corporation, which acquired Time Inc earlier this week.
In September, Time Inc announced it would be putting its UK business up for sale amid falling revenues, and that a buyer would likely be announced before the year is out. While a buyer has still not been named, a spokesperson for Time Inc confirmed to PrintWeek that a separate buyer would be acquiring Time Inc UK, which publishes more than 50 titles, including NME, Marie Claire and What’s on TV magazines.
“The sale process for Time Inc UK continues unaffected. It is not part of the Meredith acquisition — it’s separate,” said the spokesperson.
Wyndeham Group prints Time Inc UK’s titles, signing a sole-supplier deal in June 2016 after its owner Walstead acquired Polestar’s Bicester operation. This marked a turnaround after Wyndeham had initially lost its Time Inc contract to Polestar, which was awarded a single-supplier deal in 2014. PrintWeek then revealed that Time Inc had in fact part funded the Bicester acquisition.
A source told PrintWeek: "Meredith were obviously buying into the fact that Time Inc US had already earmarked the UK titles for disposal."
Earlier this week, US-headquartered Meredith, which owns a number of local and national publications and radio stations, announced it would be acquiring Time Inc, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, in a $2.7bn (£2.1bn) deal, creating a $4.8bn-turnover company that generates €2.7bn in advertising revenue.
The deal is set to be complete during Q1 2018 and has been part funded via a $650m donation from the Koch Brothers’ private equity arm, a move that has been criticised as the brothers are known for using their wealth to influence conservative causes.
Founded as the International Publishing Corporation (IPC) after a merger of three magazine publishers in 1963, Time's UK arm was then acquired by Time Warner in 2001 and renamed Time Inc UK in 2014 when Time Inc divested from Time Warner.