A potential deal for Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP) to take over part of Time Inc. (NYSE: TIME) ended long ago. However, according to the New York Post, it may surface again. And the reasons may be closely related to those for the original deal.
According to the New York Post:
As the Time Inc. drama played out for a second day, some media insiders were betting that Meredith Corp. will soon enter the fray and trigger a potential bidding war against the billionaire trio of Edgar Bronfman Jr., Len Blavatnik and Ynon Kreiz for the well-known publisher.
The New York Post also indicates a deal may cause a break up of Time’s properties.
The theory behind the Meredith deal is simple. It owns primarily women’s titles. Time’s properties would gain it a foothold against broader demographics. Meredith could sell off or close titles it does not need or for which it will not support losses. It also could consolidate a number of executive, administrative and sales functions. This would save tens of millions of dollars, but it would trigger more layoffs as well.
Finally, there is the question of what Meredith would pay. Time’s stock trades around $16 a share, which gives it a market cap of $1.6 billion. The Bronfman et al. bid was supposedly for $18 a share. Meredith may need to bid above $20 to get the attention of Time’s board. Time also carries about $1.5 billion in debt.
One thing is certain. Meredith may never get another shot at many of the world’s most valuable media brands.
Finally, any rich bid probably would get the support of outside investors. The New York Post points out:
While the company pursued a massive makeover, Time Inc. attracted activist investors, including Jana Partners and, more recently, Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors.
For these, a sale would mean a quick profit.