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American Express Confirms Sale of Magazine Division to Time Inc.

Sep 10, 2013 9:01 am

Skift Take

At AmEX, the magazines’ sales teams have long been hamstrung by a lengthy approval process so as not to run afoul of banking regulations. Expect a quick bump in ad page sales as soon as the new owners start running things.

— Jason Clampet

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Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the U.S., has agreed to acquire American Express Co.’s publishing arm, which includes titles such as Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure.

Time Inc. also adds Departures, Black Ink and Executive Travel to its roster of 21 titles, the publisher said Tuesday in a statement.Word of the pending deal first emerged on Monday.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but a Time Inc. employee said the $100 million figure floated in a New York Post report was high. The deal is expected to close Oct. 1.

The magazine company is preparing to spin off from Time Warner Inc. in the first quarter of 2014. Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes announced plans in March to separate Time Inc. — his worst-performing division — after an unsuccessful effort to create a joint venture with Meredith Corp., publisher of women’s titles such as Ladies’ Home Journal.

In July, Bewkes named Joseph Ripp CEO of Time Inc. after a four-month search.

“I am very excited about the possibilities for expanding these world-class brands, along with the rest of our portfolio, as we prepare to become an independent company,” Mr. Ripp said in a note today to employees about the transaction.

As a public company, projections for New York-based Time Inc.’s enterprise value — or the sum of its equity and debt minus cash — range from $2.7 billion to about $4.9 billion, according to six analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg in July.

American Express, based in New York, is selling the magazines because banking regulations restrict the company from non-financial activities, it said in the statement.

When the deal closes, the American Express titles will report into Evelyn Webster, exec VP and group president of Time Inc.’s lifestyle group. Ed Kelly, president-CEO at American Express Publishing, will report to Ms. Webster.

adage_200x200This story originally appeared on AdAge, a Skift content partner.

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