Meredith Cuts 200 Time Inc. Employees, Puts Magazines Up for Sale

TIME_SI_Fortune_Split - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of TIME; Courtesy of Sports Illustrated; Courtesy of Fortune

The company announced plans to lay off some 1,200 Time Inc. employees in total over the next 10 months.

Meredith Corp. is cleaning house. The company on Wednesday announced that it will part ways with some 1,200 Time Inc. employees over the next 10 months, including 200 staffers who were laid off earlier in the day. 

The company, which formally completed its acquisition of Time Inc. in late January, also formally announced on Wednesday that it plans to explore a sale of Time Inc.'s storied Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money brands.

"These are attractive properties with strong consumer reach," Meredith president and CEO Tom Harty said in the announcement. "However, they have different target audiences and advertising bases, and we believe each brand is better suited for success with a new owner."

Harty said his company is "pleased with the inbound interest we have received, and we are confident these brands will be positioned for growth with an owner that shares Meredith’s respect for editorial integrity and independence.”

Meredith executives held separate meetings with Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated staffers on Wednesday, explaining the sale process and answering questions about how employees will be affected, sources said.

Time staffers were told there hass been "tremendous" interest in the magazine from potential acquirers, and that a sale is more likely than not.

Fortune staffers were told that most of the interest has come from wealthy individuals, rather than traditional media companies. Employees were told that Fortune's editorial department will be spared from cuts, but that sales and marketing staffers will be affected, according to a staffer who attended the meeting.

The Fortune staffer described the reaction from employees as "ho-hum." "Given the way the meeting was announced, everyone thought something big was going to happen, but now it's like 'More status quo. Sheesh,'" this person said. 

Another Time Inc. employee said that Meredith conveyed an interest in selling the magazines quickly, within 120 days, which the employee said was "refreshing" to hear considering Time Inc.'s drawn-out sale process.