Morning Media Newsfeed: Time Inc. Struggles | Netflix Shareholders Back Hastings

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Time Inc. Stock Falls in Its Debut (NYT)
Shares of Time Inc., the magazine company that began trading Monday after being spun off from Time Warner, got off to a rough start, falling nearly 7 percent before recovering somewhat. Bloomberg The shares, trading under the ticker symbol TIME, slid less than 1 percent to $23.30 at the close in New York, after earlier dropping by as much as 6.7 percent. Shares of Time Warner, which owns the Warner Bros. movie studio and cable networks such as HBO and CNN, rose 1.2 percent to $68.99. FishbowlNY Last week, Time Inc.’s execs met with editors and asked them to begin the process of cutting 25 percent of editorial spending. That means staffing cuts are coming by the bunches. HuffPost Time Inc. laid off hundreds of employees in 2013 and earlier this year. Some titles, such as People, appear to have already started with their layoffs. Time Inc. is also set to leave its longstanding home, the Time-Life Building, for a cheaper downtown pad. THR Dealmaking could be on the agenda, but unlikely in the form of big acquisitions. Time Inc. was spun off with $1.3 billion in debt. Analysts have compared that to the lack of debt that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp got when the mogul’s empire was split into two last year. Moody’s recently rated Time Inc.’s debt below investment grade, but other observers said the debt will also allow Time Inc. to show that it can be trusted financially.

Netflix Shareholders Vote Down Chairman/CEO Split Proposal (WSJ)
Netflix’s shareholders on Monday voted against a nonbinding resolution to split up the company’s chief executive and chairman positions, a move some investors and proxy-advisory firms have pushed at U.S. companies to improve corporate governance. Variety The vote was conducted at the Netflix annual shareholders meeting at the company’s headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif. CEO Reed Hastings co-founded Netflix in 1997, and has been chairman since its inception. A proposal to separate the CEO and chairman roles was approved at Netflix’s 2013 shareholders meeting, but the board did not act on the resolution. THR The proposal was supported by pension funds and some others but it was not expected to pass, given that Netflix shares soared nearly 300 percent in 2013 and investors weren’t inclined to penalize Hastings after such an accomplishment. Deadline New York Netflix said in its proxy that it makes sense for Hastings to be chairman “because he is the director most familiar with the company’s business and industry and is therefore best able to identify the strategic priorities to be discussed by the Board.”

Time Warner in Talks About $2.2 Billion Vice Deal (SkyNews)
Vice Media, the digital group which has mounted an aggressive assault on traditional news providers, is in talks to sell a major stake in itself to Time Warner. Financial Times The deal would value the anarchic digital media and publishing group at $2 billion-$3 billion, according to people familiar with the situation. Vice, which produces a news show for Time Warner’s HBO cable network, operates some of the most popular channels on YouTube and has succeeded in reaching millennial viewers that have drifted away from traditional media. Variety Last August, 21st Century Fox invested $70 million in Vice, giving Fox a 5 percent ownership stake and valuing Vice at $1.4 billion. In one of the scenarios under discussion, Time Warner would combine its cable-news network HLN with Vice, according to the report. NYT Precise terms and valuations have not been agreed upon. Talks have been going on for several weeks and could still fall through, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.