Time Warner's magazine unit files for spin-off

Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:32pm EST

(Reuters) - Time Warner Inc moved another step closer to spinning off its magazine assets as Time Inc, the publisher of People, Fortune and the eponymous newsweekly Time, filed with regulators on Friday to list itself as a standalone company.

The filing indicated that Time Inc would list its common stock in 2014 but did not reveal the number of shares to be sold or the symbol they would be traded under.

Time Inc, which also publishes the Sports Illustrated magazine, reported revenue of $2.39 billion for the nine months ended September, more than half of which came from advertising.

The company reported net profit of $135 million for the period and long-term debt of $37 million.

Following the spin off, Time Warner will own no equity interest in Time Inc.

Time Warner's move to spin off its publishing business underscores the challenges besetting the print industry.

Magazines have been hit with unprecedented declines in readership in recent years as people turn to smartphones and tablets to read and advertisers look to other media to place dollars beside print.

Investors have been pushing Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes for years to hive off Time Inc, which is considered a slow growth, mature asset.

Spinning off publishing assets has proven a popular choice among media conglomerates this year. News Corp split its entertainment and TV companies, now known as 21st Century Fox, from its newspapers and book publishing units.

Tribune Co is following suit and expects to hive off its newspapers from its more lucrative broadcast TV stations.

The moves are aimed at separating high-growth areas like cable TV from slower and, in many cases, declining media properties like magazines and newspapers.

Time Warner has been shedding properties and Time Inc marks one in a string of many that includes the spin-offs of AOL and Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner expects the spin-off to occur in the second quarter next year. In September, Joe Ripp was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Time Inc.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore and Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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