Ranking the Time Inc. suitors, from most to least likely
The latest to express interest, American Media, seems like a longshot
January 12, 2017
Imagine, if you will, walking the hallways of American Media a year from now.
There’s the office for Star, there’s the one for OK! Weekly, here’s Radar Online, and oh, look, it’s the folks at Fortune! They’re looking a little out of place.
We may chuckle now at that image, but it could happen. AMI is the latest company to express interest in buying part or all of troubled Time Inc., which includes venerable magazines such as Fortune, Time and Sports Illustrated.
AMI, of course, is the owner of The National Enquirer as well as a slew of other celebrity and fitness titles.
The contrast in focus, culture and management styles would be enormous, but at this point it’s hard to count any suitor out of the Time. Inc. race.
Since word leaked late last year that investors had made an offer to Time Inc., a number of potential buyers have stepped forward.
They range from the very unlikely to the very fitting. All have very different visions for the company as well. Meredith, for instance, is unlikely to acquire its flagship title, and analyst Eric Katz at Wells Fargo has said whatever company swoops in would likely sell off or shut down some magazines.
Here’s a ranking of the Time Inc. suitors from most to least likely to get the company, based on input from analysts and media people.
It’s said to be the frontrunner, eyeing the female-skewing titles.
2. A digital company
None has bid yet, but content-hungry Verizon is a possibility.
Like Meredith, it wants the women’s magazines.
4. Edgar Bronfman Jr., Len Blavatnik and Ynon Kreiz
Time Inc. has already rejected the investors’ offer, but they could sweeten it.
If, however, AMI teams with Meredith, as it’s rumored to be mulling, that acquisition becomes far more likely.
6. Condé Nast
The publisher has eschewed acquisitions, but several bankers have mentioned it as an outside possibility.
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