Months after Meredith completed its acquisition of Time Inc., the company is narrowing down finalists among dozens of bids submitted for four of the brands it looks to sell. The company then plans to invest in other titles more closely aligned with its portfolio of lifestyle, celebrity and entertainment brands.
Not long after Meredith closed the deal to buy Time Inc. for $2.8 billion, it decided to sell flagship brand Time, as well as Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money.
“We’re very confident that these brands are going to find very good homes,” said Doug Olson, president of Meredith Magazines and general manager of National Media Group at Meredith Corporation.
Each brand got more than 50 bidders, Olson said. The titles could go as a block to one company, or go their separate ways. Time magazine has been published since 1923, Fortune since 1930. The company looks to complete the sales by the end of summer.
Olson has also reorganized the ad sales teams and brought back the publisher role, or “brand evangelists” as they’re called, to each title.
“At the end of the day, somebody is out there focusing on that brand and getting down to what makes that brand special from a DNA perspective,” Olson said.
Meredith’s sales and marketing personnel and most of the support staff have moved to 225 Liberty St., which had been Time Inc.’s home since 2015. The glass high rise at Brookfield Place sits between the World Trade Center and the Hudson River waterfront. New York-based Meredith editorial will move there before the end of August, Olson said.
Meredith sees the remaining, former Time Inc. titles, including People, Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure, as huge growth areas. “We’re trying to focus not only on the traditional business with the magazine activity, but also with an eye on building a big digital business,” Olson said.
People.com will have two record-breaking back-to-back months due in part to royal wedding coverage. People reached 60 million total unduplicated unique visitors in April, according to comScore. May is expected to top that.
Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure will each have improved paper stock beginning with the September issues.
Meredith is also getting a taste of those titles’ events business, first with the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen kicking off this Friday. Southern Living and Coastal Living are each getting an Idea House, during which current and prospective homeowners can get remodeling and decorating ideas.
The home in Austin, Texas opens for public tours Friday. The home in Habersham, S.C. opens July 5.
“We really believe at the end of the day that the portfolio of brands will allow us to be really successful,” Olson said.