Today comes word that a potential buyer is exploring the purchase of Time, Inc. from Time Warner (TWX). The Company has three main groups: News and Sports (Time Magazine, CNN Money and Sports Illustrated ), Style & Entertainment (People, InStyle and Entertainment Weekly) and Lifestyle (RealSimple, Southern Living, MyRecipes.com and others). According to reports, the sale could exclude three flagship brands: Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, which would remain with Time Warner.
Who might the suitor be?
Obviously, there could be a private equity firm lining up to bid, but that’s not too interesting, so I thought I’d suggest some potential strategic acquirers.
That would make sense from the content/titles, and could see Jack Griffin doing it from an ego standpoint, but would be a challenge for them to absorb IMO. Assuming a price tag of $2-3 billion, it could cost nearly double Meredith's current market cap.
Disney (DIS) would make a lot of sense. They have the news (ABC) and sports (ESPN) coverage in place and could certainly capitalize on media and web opportunities around the style and entertainment business.
Hearst would find the titles would be hugely attractive, but absorbing an acquisition this large would be a challenge.
Conde Nast/Advance Publications, publisher of Bon Appetit, Glamour and Vogue, would be a great home for the lifestyle and style brands, but may find a deal too large to absorb.
News Corp (NWS) is in the midst of splitting itself in two. An acquisition here could diversify that publishing group, reducing its reliance on newspapers and opening up more avenues for digital publishing.
Viacom (VIA) could see this as interesting way to build new video and digital content around the style, entertainment and lifestyle markets in the way that Time Warner's TMZ has found success.
Who am I missing? Who do you think might bid on Time? Add your ideas in the comments.