Time Inc. is trying to sell Coastal Living, Sunset and Golf magazines, as part of its attempt to go from print publisher to digital-media producer.
It’s a huge transformation. The company’s already cut 300 jobs and is also looking to sell a majority stake in Essence.
When it does put a publication on the block, Time Inc. seems to have a script that it uses to let staffers know that their publications are up for sale.
It includes language like this:
“We strongly believe that TK and all of you who work so passionately on this brand could be better supported and have better opportunities as part of the core strategy of another enterprise.”
The TK is a journalism convention for a blank to be filled in later. The memo Business Insider obtained is titled “Talking Points” and doesn’t identify an individual publication.
All of this is indicative of the struggles of magazine publishers in 2017, as former media stalwarts like Time Inc. have struggled to adapt to the digital age. Time Inc.’s revenue and operating profit have both fallen sharply over the past decade. So Time has embarked on a series of “portfolio rationalization” efforts — essentially asset sales — after deciding not to entertain takeover offers for the entire company in April.
“We can’t focus on everything,” the memo says. It then goes on to confirm that the company is exploring to sell some of its publications.
“We are exploring a sale of TK if we can find a buyer who can give us the appropriate value for this incredible brand.”
Then staffers get thanked staffers for all their efforts “during this very busy and challenging year,” before ending with the following:
“We believe this is the right decision for the long-term of TK.”
At the end of the memo is a list of three questions to guide the leadership — questions that they will probably be fielding about whether employees will still work for Time, what they should tell clients, and who is interested — along with answers to them.