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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.