And just like that, it’s over. Time Warner has ended talks with Meredith regarding merging Time Inc. with the Iowa-based company. As a result, Time Inc. will be spun off into a separate, publicly-traded company. The New York Times reports that the first casualty of the division is Laura Lang, who will leave once Time Inc. once the separation is complete.
Yesterday multiple reports emerged that the deal was almost dead. As much as we joked that the deal wouldn’t get done because of Iowa, that wasn’t the main sticking point. The merger fell through because Meredith didn’t want to take on Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money because they’re pretty much money pits and don’t fit well with Meredith’s brand. Understandable.
So the biggest media combo to be discussed in quite some time ends not with a roar, but a few boring statements. Stephen Lacy, CEO of Meredith: “We respect Time Warner’s decision and certainly remain open to continuing a dialogue on how our companies might work together on future opportunities.”
Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner: “After a thorough review of options, we believe that a separation will better position both Time Warner and Time Inc. Time Inc. will also benefit from the flexibility and focus of being a stand-alone company.”
And finally, below is Lang’s memo to Time Inc. staffers.
Today’s news that Time Warner plans to spin off Time Inc. is something that everyone is just beginning to digest. While there are many questions that can only be answered in time, one thing is already clear: the hard work we have done over the past year in maintaining our core business while at the same time becoming more digitally focused has positioned the company well. Time Inc. has incredible talent and great brands that will continue to lead our industry.
The planned spin-off has also made me reflect on what is the best path for me and the company going forward. After considerable thought, I have decided that taking the company through a transition to the public markets is not where my passion lies. Jeff has been extremely supportive and I am committed to working together with him on recruiting the right person to lead Time Inc. at the spin.
I want to thank all of you for your support over the past year. You welcomed me warmly and jumped in enthusiastically as we charted a course. I look forward to working with you as we continue to make progress.