Report: Time Warner in talks to sell People, other magazines

Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes (Associated Press)

Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes (Associated Press)

Follow us on Twitter @AJCBiz

Time Warner Inc., the media and entertainment conglomerate, is in talks to sell its Time Inc. publishing unit, whose titles include People, Sports Illustrated, Essence and other well-known magazines, according to Fortune.

Talks with “a serious buyer” are in their initial stages, Fortune reported Wednesday.  It cautioned that a deal is not a sure bet.

Fortune, which is also under the Time Inc. umbrella of about 90 magazines globally, says its information comes from three people familiar with the discussions. A Time Warner spokesman said the company never comments on “speculations of this nature.”

Fortune says unloading Time Inc. would be Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Bewkes’ latest effort at “slimming down” Time Warner. The multibillion dollar corporation, which once owned the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Thrashers, also owns Warner Bros., HBO, CNN and Turner Broadcasting System.

Under one scenario, some of Time Inc.’s  magazines, such as People, InStyle and Real Simple, could be “carved out and rolled into an independent company and sold to the undisclosed buyer,” Fortune reported on CNNMoney.com, an online partner. “Under this plan, Time Warner … would maintain control of at least three titles — Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune.”

Forbes estimates that if Time Warner were to sell all of Time Inc., “it would most likely fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 billion to $6 billion.”

According to Forbes and Ad Age, possible suitors include Meredith Corp., Hearst, Conde Nast and Berkshire Hathaway, since, according to Ad Age, billionaire Warren Buffett once told former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons that Berkshire Hathaway would be interested if Time Inc. became available.

5 comments Add your comment

MANGLER

February 13th, 2013
5:17 pm

Time is going to sell people? Need I remind them that slavery was outlawed?

Observer

February 13th, 2013
6:35 pm

OMG, Mangler, just go away!!!

BoyWonder

February 13th, 2013
7:57 pm

Amazing how much you can get for a box of “rags” these days.

Have you picked up any of these magazines lately?
Picked up – since they weigh so little – after the multitude of subcription cards fall out.
I would actually never pay to buy one.
It’s all of a 10 minute read.

“So tell me Grandpa – what is a “magazine”
“Well honey – they printed those in the last century – on paper.”
‘Grandpa – what’s paper?”

Ugghhhh
And I thought Warren Buffet was smart.
There is no “moat” or code word for government provided monopoly with magazines.
Dead man walking.
He must be getting old.

TheLazyComic

February 14th, 2013
2:03 pm

Apparently, OBSERVER doesn’t know how to “play on words”… but then what do I expect, this is Omerica… where EVERYBODY is one big, happy, diverse family. (Now, I gotta go clean the dung off of my boots again). Does Time-Warner still own CNN? If so, perhaps THAT is what they should put on the market. I’m not a fan of CNN… but at least it was better before the piglets of Time-Warner gobbled it up. Don’t know if you ever saw the episode of Murphy Brown, when FYI was bought out by a corporate hog type. If not, watch it. It’s hysterical. Even though they were mocking their own CBS network…it’s a universal mocking. (Randy, The Lazy Comic)

Funkisha

February 14th, 2013
2:05 pm

The fact that People magazine has any readership at all is a depressing commentary on the state of our culture. Those are probably the same folks who get their meals at the drive-thru then rush home to watch Entertainment Tonight.