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Warner Music boss reportedly involved in bid for NME publisher Time Inc

By | Published on Tuesday 29 November 2016

Time Inc

Shares in magazine publisher Time Inc – the UK division of which publishes music titles like NME and Uncut – rallied yesterday amid reports that the company’s board had knocked back an acquisition bid led by Edgar Bronfman Jr, Len Blavatnik and Ynon Kreiz.

According to sources cited by the New York Post, the trio were offering $18 per share to acquire the media firm, which is a 30% premium on the price the company’s shares were trading at last week.

Though analysts reckon that – while Time, in common with all traditional media groups, is still attempting to meet the challenge of significantly boosting the revenues of its online properties as print title income continues to decline – the company’s board reckons it could nevertheless command something closer to $23 a share in any takeover, in line with its share price when spun off into a standalone company back in 2014.

Time, originally founded in 1922, was a division of Time Warner from 1990 to 2014, meaning for many years it was in common ownership with Warner Music. It was Bronfman Jr who spearheaded the 2004 deal that made Warner Music independent of the Time Warner group, subsequently selling the music firm to Blavatnik’s Access Industries in 2011. Kreiz, meanwhile, currently sits on the Warner Music board.

Blavatnik has been busy expanding his media and entertainment assets in recent years, though most of the businesses he has acquired a stake in remain autonomous. Other possible buyers for Time Inc include existing media owners, who would likely integrate the firm’s titles with their own, likely streamlining the portfolio in the process, though some reckon that only a private equity-led bid could come in at $23 a share.