Time Inc., the home of Sports Illustrated, People and Time magazines, has decided not to sell itself, ending a monthslong bidding process that could have signaled the end of an era for a company that was once the country’s most storied magazine publisher.
In a statement, the company said its board had determined it would remain an independent company and that it would pursue its strategic plan, which includes increasing its digital audience and pursuing new opportunities for revenue growth.
“Time Inc. is a reinvigorated company uniquely positioned to succeed in the multiplatform media marketplace,” said Rich Battista, the chief executive of Time Inc. “We are excited to execute on our plan as we have become a leader in digital and remain No. 1 in print ad revenue share.”
At one time, five parties, including the Meredith Corporation, the publisher of Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle, had expressed interest in buying Time Inc. in its entirety, according to people familiar with the bidding process. But in March, one party, an investor group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and the media executive Ynon Kreiz, suddenly dropped out, raising questions about the sale of Time Inc.
Time Inc. had rejected an offer of at least $18 a share from Mr. Bronfman’s group late last year.
This is not the first time Time Inc., which was spun off from Time Warner in 2014, has failed to sell itself. In 2013, Meredith had flirted with buying it, but a deal fell through in part because Meredith reportedly did not want to buy several of Time Inc.’s most well-known magazines, including Time and Sports Illustrated.
Like many magazine companies, Time Inc., which has long known for its weekly titles, has struggled to adapt to a digital age in which information is available minute to minute. The brutal economics of the publishing industry have made that challenge more daunting. In the last decade, Time Inc.’s revenue and operating profit have fallen sharply. Its work force has dropped to just over 7,000, from 11,000.