Magazine publisher Time Inc.’s stock jumped nearly 8 percent Thursday — all in the last hour of trading — after the Wall Street Journal reported the company has hired Morgan Stanley and Bank of America to help it find a potential buyer.
Time Inc., which owns titles including flagship Time, People and Sports Illustrated, had rejected multiple takeover bids from billionaire Edgar Bronfman Jr., according to November reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post. Bronfman’s highest bid for the publisher was $18 a share, slightly higher than Thursday’s closing price of $17.75.
Like many other legacy print companies, Time Inc. has struggled since it was spun off from Time Warner Inc. in 2014 and saddled with $1.5 billion in debt. Last month, the company reported a 3 percent year-over-year decline in revenue, which was just $750 million in the third quarter. Meanwhile, former corporate parent Time Warner, which owns assets like the Warner Bros. studio, CNN and HBO, was acquired by AT&T for $85 billion in October in a deal pending regulatory approval.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Bronfman and his partners in his latest bid, Len Blavatnik and Ynon Kreiz, remain interested in Time. The company recently made a change at the top, appointing Rich Battista as CEO in September, taking over for now-executive chairman Joe Ripp.