‘Tis not the season for mergers and acquisitions in the publishing industry.
Over the weekend, the country’s biggest magazine publisher, Time Inc., rejected a takeover bid from billionaire Edgar Bronfman Jr., the Seagram’s heir who previously engineered a takeover of Warner Music Group, according to the New York Post, which reported the news Monday.
The bid of $18 per share would have represented a premium of 30.2% over the company’s closing share price of $13.83 on Friday afternoon, before news of the takeover attempt became public.
The offer would have valued Time Inc. at around $1.78 billion. Despite the rejection, news of the bid spurred the publisher’s stock to increase to $16 at the time of writing, up 15.7% over the Friday close.
Bronfman’s private equity firm Accretive LLC made the bid with support from several other high-powered investors, per the NYP, including Leonard Blavatnik, a Ukrainian-born American businessman, and Ynoz Kreiz, the Israeli businessmen who helped build and then sell Maker Studios to Disney for over $500 million in 2014.
Bronfman first earned fame, or notoriety, for leading the liquidation of his family’s controlling stake in Seagram in favor of an ill-fated foray into the music and entertainment business. His involvement with WMG led to its sale to Blavatnik’s Access Industries for $3.3 billion in 2011.
As noted, this isn’t the first big bid for a publisher to fall flat this year.
Earlier this month, Gannett, the country’s biggest newspaper publisher, finally backed out of its proposed acquisition of Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, after lenders reportedly got cold feet over the high price Gannett was offering.