Five suitors in the running for purchase of Time Inc

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Five potential buyers are interested in Time Inc and the magazine publisher’s board has set a deadline of next week for bids to be submitted, according to people familiar with the situation.

Suitors include Meredith, publisher of Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart Living, and a consortium backed by Len Blavatnik, the billionaire owner of Warner Music Group, Edgar Bronfman Jr, former chief executive of Warner Music, and Ynon Kreiz, who ran Maker Studios before it was sold to Disney. Time rejected a $1.8bn bid from the latter in November, but has hired bankers to advise it on a possible sale or investment.

All five companies have signed non-disclosure agreements in connection with the bids.

The five possible buyers are all interested in buying the whole of Time Inc, which owns titles including People, Sports Illustrated and Time, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Time’s board could also take an investment or decide not to proceed with a sale at all.

Time has struggled with industry-wide declines in circulation and advertising revenue, dating to before its spinoff from Time Warner nearly three years ago. It spent much of last year reorganising its business and management, cutting costs and getting into new areas including video and television production. In 2017, the publisher expects full-year revenue to fall 2 per cent, its sixth straight year of decline.

Time declined to comment. Meredith could not be reached for comment.

The deadline for bids was first reported by Bloomberg.

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