Meredith Is in Late-Stage Talks for Time Inc. Takeover

  • Time’s board said to meet Tuesday for update on sale talks
  • Large U.S. company is said to want last right of refusal

A person walks past the logo of Time Inc. in the lobby of their office headquarters in lower Manhattan on March 3, in New York City.

Photographer: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Meredith Corp.’s weeks-long pursuit of an acquisition of Time Inc. has advanced into late-stage discussions, according to people familiar with the matter.

While the slow pace has frustrated some involved in the process, a deal is still seen as more likely than not, though there’s no timetable for an agreement to be reached, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Time’s board met Tuesday for an update on the sale talks, one person said.

Other potential buyers, including a consortium led by Pamplona Capital Management, also remain in discussions for Time, said the people, with some parties offering partial investments rather than a full takeover. One bidder, a large U.S. publicly traded company, isn’t actively involved in discussions but has told Time it may want to make an offer once it sees how talks with other bidders shake out, the people said.

Time declined to comment, and Meredith and Pamplona didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Meredith’s likely buyout offer still stands at slightly more than $20 per share, the people said, valuing Time at about $2 billion. Time has been running a sales process since the beginning of the year. The New York-based company hired Bank of America and Morgan Stanley after receiving an unsolicited offer from a group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr.

Bronfman’s Accretive LLC was asked to leave the bidding process after refusing to bump its bid beyond $18 a share, two people told Bloomberg last month.

Time Inc. almost merged with Meredith in 2013 before talks fell apart. At the time, Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes decided to separate Time from the parent company instead of combining it with Meredith. Time Warner would have kept some of the company’s best known magazines, potentially including Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated, under the terms of the deal discussed. Bewkes instead chose a spinoff to clear Time Warner of the magazine business altogether.

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