Time Inc. Explores Sale of Sunset, Golf Magazines

Updated on
  • Coastal Living also put on block to focus on larger titles
  • CEO Battista says company not ruling out selling other assets

Time Inc. is exploring a sale of Coastal Living, Sunset and Golf magazines as the struggling publisher concentrates on larger titles in its turnaround strategy, Chief Executive Officer Rich Battista said in an interview Tuesday.

Battista said in May the company would sell some smaller properties as it tried to push ahead with a digital strategy and move past months of talks with potential acquirers.

In the interview, Battista called the three publications “wonderful brands” but said Time needed to invest in other properties instead. The company also publishes People and Sports Illustrated.

“It’s really important to focus on the key biggest growth drivers of this company that will move the needle the most,” he said. “These are wonderful titles and wonderful brands. They’re just relatively smaller in our portfolio.”

Time may also consider unloading other assets, Battista said. Earlier this week, the publisher said it was looking to sell a majority stake in Essence, a monthly magazine for black women. Battista said in the interview that Time was increasing its video production for television and social media and looking to expand the Foundry, which creates content for advertisers.

In April, Time announced it was sticking with its online strategy rather than selling itself. Last month, the publisher cut 300 employees, or 4 percent of its workforce, to be more efficient and reinvest resources in growth areas.

Digital Dollars

Like other magazine publishers, Time is struggling to reinvent itself as print advertising dries up and the lion’s share of digital advertising dollars goes to Facebook Inc. and Google. The magazine owner has spent months restructuring its business and replacing senior management, hoping to persuade advertisers to pour money into its titles.

Based in Oakland, California, Sunset is a monthly publication focused on West Coast lifestyle, including travel, food, home and garden. It was founded in 1898 by railroad executives who wanted to attract people on the East Coast to move out West.

Coastal Living, based in Birmingham, Alabama, focuses on home design and travel in communities along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts.

Golf magazine, a monthly based in New York, focuses on golf instruction, equipment and courses. It competes with Conde Nast’s Golf Digest.

(Adds plan to sell stake in Essence in fifth paragraph.)
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