The Meredith Corporation announced on Wednesday that it is looking to sell Time, Sports Illustrated, Money, and Fortune. In addition, Meredith will conduct 1,200 layoffs as a result of their acquisition of Time Inc. six weeks ago. 200 of the employees have already been informed of their termination while the other 1,000 will occur in the next several months.
The sale of the four magazines follows Meredith’s selling of Time Inc. UK and Golf Magazine. Time, Sports Illustrated, Money, and Fortune are break from Meredith’s usual bread and butter of monthly lifestyle magazines generally targeted towards a female audience. Art Slusark, the chief communications officer for Meredith, told TKNN about the other former Time Inc brands, “We do not have any plans to sell other brands.”
“We are very excited about what we have added through the acquisition of Time Inc. It expands Meredith’s reach into the entertainment (People, Entertainment Weekly); fashion and beauty (InStyle) and luxury (Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Departures) categories. It significantly enhances our reach in areas such as lifestyle (Real Simple), food and health (Cooking Light, Health), home (Southern Living, Coastal Living) and Hispanic (People en Espanol) categories.”
Slusark also told TKNN that Meredith has “no preference” when it comes to selling the magazines to one owner versus individually. A Sports Illustrated source told TKNN that Meredith is looking to get the sale done in 90-120 days. In addition, the only “inbound interest” for the titles so far has come from wealthy individuals.
The announcement followed conference calls with staffs of the magazines. Each magazine got its own conference call with Meredith CEO Tom Harty. The company then released a press release with the information and the Sports Illustrated source said that much of what was discussed was then released in the press release.
A different Sports Illustrated source said that on the conference call it was conveyed that Meredith is looking to sell the publications because of a belief that other ownership would be better at finding a sustainable business model. The source also said that Meredith has pledged business as usual until the sale and that editorial employees, at least at Sports Illustrated, will not be fired to improve the look of the company for potential buyers.
“We have made significant progress executing on these initiatives since we closed on the acquisition just six weeks ago,” said Meredith President and CEO Tom Harty in the aforementioned press release. “For example, today we are announcing we have completed our portfolio review and decided to explore the sale of the Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Money brands. These are attractive properties with strong consumer reach. However, they have different target audiences and advertising bases, and we believe each brand is better suited for success with a new owner.”
“We are pleased with the inbound interest we have received, and we are confident these brands will be positioned for growth with an owner that shares Meredith’s respect for editorial integrity and independence.”