Bonnier Buys Time4 Titles

NEW YORK Time Inc. today confirmed the sale of its 16 Time4 Media enthusiast magazines and two parenting titles to Sweden’s Bonnier Magazine Group.

The price, above $200 million, was not as low as some predicted, but less than originally expected. The deal is expected to close at the end of February.

The 18 titles that Time put on the block late last year would greatly expand Bonnier’s foothold in the United States, which it established last May when it bought a 50 percent stake in Winter Park, Fla.-based World Publications.

The pending acquisition would double World’s titles to 40 and more than double its annual revenue, to more than $350 million.

“There are a lot of synergistic products that marry up with what we currently have,” Terry Snow, CEO of World, said. The acquisition of the Time titles would let World expand its titles’ commitment to digital and television media, he said.

Time4, which has properties such as Ski and Yachting, complement World’s holdings, which include 20 periodicals aimed at affluent enthusiasts, including Saveur, Water Ski and Boating Life. Time’s Baby Talk and Parenting, meanwhile, complement Bonnier’s European parenting titles.

Snow said Time4 and the parenting magazines would remain in New York. The parenting titles would operate as a separate division; he said it was unclear if Time4 would operate as an independent unit of World.

Bonnier beat out seven bidders that submitted final offers Jan. 22, according to sources close to the process. While the auction attracted a number of private-equity-backed players, the announced sale to Bonnier fulfills Time’s desire to sell to a strategic entity.

“I am very pleased to have found the right buyer for the parenting group and Time4 Media, one that will be able to nurture their specialized titles,” said Ann Moore, Time chairman and CEO, in a statement. “This transaction underscores Time Inc.’s commitment to focus our energy, resources and investment on our biggest and most profitable brands.”

Time last week said it was shedding 300 staffers and closing bureaus across several titles. The cuts, which represent roughly 3 percent of the company’s total workforce of 10,500, will come through a combination of layoffs and buyout packages being offered to guild members.