Time Warner has made the decision to spin off the magazine unit of its company into a new group that will be known as “Time Inc.” and will be publicly traded on the stock exchange. This decision will allow Time Warner to focus on cable television and films exclusively, and it follows an announcement that negotiations with Meredith Corporation to join its magazine-publishing unit were unsuccessful. Meredith was concerned that four struggling magazines would dilute its interest in the business and perhaps lead to business disputes between the two companies.
Currently, Time Inc. is the largest magazine publisher in the country, but the industry has been facing tremendous financial pressure, given declines in revenue. However, television and movie media has been steadily appreciating in value, with a five percent growth in the last quarter of 2012 alone. By contrast, the price of stock in the magazine division fell seven percent in the same time period.
Time Inc.’s revenue has declined a total of 30 percent in the past five years, leading to six percent layoffs and troubling balance sheets for the magazine company. Meredith’s decision not to enter into an agreement with Time Inc. seems to have been based on several factors that included a reluctance on the part of Time Inc. to relinquish control of a key London property or to give Meredith a larger say of which magazines would be featured.
Business disputes are often difficult and complicated to manage. When one company needs funds from another or wants the other company to purchase a division, it may be helpful for the seller to have the advice and counsel of a business attorney in negotiating the deal.
Source: The New York Times, “Time Warner ends talks with Meredith and will spin off Time Inc. into separate company,” Amy Chozick, March 6, 2013