Now that Time Inc. is on its own, the rumor that the publishing house and Meredith Corporation will merge is popping up once again. According to The Street, Meredith might acquire Time Inc. as soon as next year:
Meredith could buy Time in the fourth quarter of 2015, Citi analyst Jason Bazinet predicted. The deal is not likely to occur before then because of the tax-free nature of the Tiime spin-off, the analyst believes. Time shareholders would probably receive $28 per share in a takeover and would have 40%-48% of Meredith’s equity following the deal.
The Time Inc./Meredith talks began last February. Despite plenty of discussions, the deal ultimately fell through when the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on the fate of Time, Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated.
Regardless of what the Citi analyst thinks, earlier this month Joe Ripp —Time Inc.’s CEO — was blunt about the idea of a Time Inc./Meredith combo. “I’ve had no conversations with Meredith and I have no plans to talk with [Meredith’s CEO] Steve Lacey in the near future,” Ripp said at the time.
Media reporters please note that the phrase “near future” is open to wild and rampant speculation.