Meredith Woos Time Inc. Again

After dating a few years ago, then taking some time off and seeing other companies, publishers Meredith Corp. and Time Inc. may be getting back together. At least that’s what Meredith hopes.

The women’s interest publisher has again approached Time Inc. about a possible merger, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the news, citing an unnamed source familiar with the negotiations.

The publishers originally flirted with a merger back in 2013. That's when the Meredith tie-up was one of several options considered by Time Inc.’s management, as the company prepared to separate from corporate parent Time Warner. Nothing came of the talks, and Time Inc. finally spun off from Time Warner by itself in 2014.

Subsequently, Meredith has considered joining with several other partners. It actively pursued a merger with publisher and broadcast TV owner Media General in 2015-2016, with potential plans for the companies to spin off their publishing and broadcast TV properties as separate entities.

However, Media General later backed out of the deal in favor of a rival offer from Nexstar.

Since then, Meredith has also considered spinning off its broadcast division as a standalone company, while broadening its capabilities with strategic acquisitions focused on native advertising and mobile marketing technology.

For its part, Time Inc. recently rejected a takeover offer from Edgar Bronfman, the famed Seagram’s heir who engineered an ill-fated takeover of Warner Music Group and ran the music publisher from 2004-11. Toward the end of last year, Bronfman made a bid of $18 per share for Time Inc., valuing the company at $1.78 billion.

Bronfman is said to still be interested in acquiring the publisher.

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