Time Inc. has asked Morgan Stanley and Bank of America to help it evaluate potential offers to buy the magazine publisher or enter into partnership, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.
The move comes just a week after Time Inc. reportedly turned down a ten-figure buyout offer from billionaire entertainment investor Edgar Bronfman Jr.
Although Time Inc. is staying mum on the subject, the company’s leadership could be considering a deal with fellow publisher Meredith Corp., according to the WSJ, citing bankers and investors who follow the media industry.
Three years ago, Time (then still part of Time Warner) and Meredith held discussions about a deal to merge most of their magazine publishing divisions and potentially spin off Meredith’s profitable broadcast TV division. But Time Warner decided to spin off Time Inc. as a standalone company instead.
As noted in a previous post, last week, Bronfman – the famed Seagram’s heir who engineered an ill-fated takeover of Warner Music Group and ran the music publisher from 2004-11 – made a bid of $18 per share for Time Inc., valuing the company at $1.78 billion.
That offer would have represented a premium of 30.2% over the company’s closing share price of $13.83, before news of the takeover attempt became public.
Bronfman’s private equity firm Accretive LLC made the bid with support from several other high-powered investors, per the New York Post, 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.Blavatnik’s Access Industries previously purchased Bronfman’s stake in WMG for $3.3 billion in 2011.