News Corp is spinning off its own publishing division, and now Time Warner is reportedly looking to sell off Time Inc., its publishing division, Time publication Fortune reported Wednesday. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both reported late Wednesday afternoon that the potential buyer is Meredith, which publishes women’s magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal and is based in Des Moines, Iowa.
According to the Fortune article, which cited unidentified sources:
In one scenario, most of the company’s publishing titles, such as People, InStyle, and Real Simple, would be carved out and rolled into an independent company and sold to the undisclosed buyer. Under this plan, Time Warner would maintain control of at least three titles – Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune – according to the sources. A Time Warner spokesman says, “We never comment on speculations of this nature.”
The New York Times, also citing unidentified sources, elaborated that “Meredith did not express interest in purchasing Time Inc.’s sluggish news titles.”
In 2012, Time Inc. contributed $3.4 billion in revenue to Time Warner’s total revenues of $28.7 billion — a decline from 2011, which the company attributed to lower subscription and advertising revenues. The publishing division laid off about 500 people — roughly 6 percent of its global workforce — in January.
It’s unclear who a potential buyer for Time Inc. might be. BDT Capital, the bank that Fortune reports is involved in the deal, has ties to Warren Buffett, leading AdAge to speculate that Buffett could be involved in the deal.
This story was updated at 5:00 p.m. ET to reflect reports from the WSJ and NYT that Time Inc.’s potential buyer is Meredith.