Not Even Time Enough For Love- Meredith(MDP) Runs With The Pamplona Bulls In Pursuit Of Time, Inc.

Time, Inc.’s(TIME) brief interlude as a public company following its 2014 spinoff from Time Warner(TWX) appears to be coming to a close. Rumors about Meredith(MDP) interest in some or all of Time have been rampant for years.  Speculation that  a sale was near increased dramatically with reports last November that a group led by Edgar Bronfman, Jr. had made a bid. Bronfman is now out of the picture, but Bloomberg reports that a deal is near.  The deal would take place above $20, as much as 50% above November’s price.

A sale of the entire company is now more likely than not, and may be reached as soon as the end of next week, the people said, though discussions could drag into early April. Meredith Corp. and a group including Pamplona Capital Management and Jahm Najafi are still in the running to buy the entire business, alongside at least two other suitors including one publicly listed company, the people said.

Meredith, which publishes titles such as Family Fun and MidWest Living, is seen as the most likely winner as it has the most obvious synergies with Time, the people said. There are doubts, however, that a final deal with the Des Moines, Iowa-based group will be reached after it failed to agree on a previous transaction with Time in 2013, the people said. Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes decided to separate Time from the parent company instead of combining it with Meredith.

Time has made a big push into digital, accelerated under new CEO Rich Battista. The company even was rumored to have made a bid for Yahoo’s (YHOO) core assets before Verizon(VZ) ultimately won them. It will be interesting to see whether Meredith wins, who the other public suitor might be, and whether a deal even happens.

Disclosure: The author holds no shares of any stock mentioned



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