September 10, 2013 Last Updated 10:12 am

Time Inc. announces acquisition of American Express Publishing

This press release just hit the wires, the not unexpected news that Time Inc. is acquiring American Express Publishing.

A lot of media observers were surprised by the idea that Time Inc. would do this, after all, the spin off plan was seen as a signal that the magazines would be sold. But it is, in fact, a pretty logical choice to make. The magazine division needs some scale outside of the parent company and so making an acquisition is the way to go. It is still quite possible, however, that we will see Time Inc. sold off to one of the large magazine companies, or a PE firm, at some later time. But Time Inc. and AE Publishing a working relationship, so this seems to me like the logical target for Time.

Press release:

NEW YORK–Time Inc. and American Express Company today announced an agreement for Time Inc. to acquire American Express Publishing Corporation. The sale is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. American Express Publishing, with brands including Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Time Inc.

“American Express Publishing is home to the most desirable brands in the luxury space and we’re delighted they will become part of Time Inc.,” said Joe Ripp, Chief Executive Officer, Time Inc. “We have deep respect for Ed Kelly and his talented team. We know their business well and we believe we can create some exciting synergistic opportunities across our portfolio.”

travel-leisureWe have a long-term relationship with Time Inc. that goes back many years,” said John Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer, American Express. “Under Ed Kelly’s leadership, American Express Publishing has done extraordinary work with great skill, passion and accomplishment. While the company has outperformed its peers by creating editorial products of exceptional quality, banking regulations limit our ability to engage in non-financial activities. We concluded that Time Inc. is the ideal partner to continue the group’s tradition of excellence, and we expect to work closely with them on a range of marketing initiatives in the future.”

“We’ve built a great business around respect for our people and the brands that they serve,” said Ed Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Publishing Corporation. “This sale is a formula for success that will allow us to further develop our extraordinary brands, services and traditions, and we look forward to being part of the Time Inc. family.”

The acquisition follows a 20-year relationship between Time Inc. and American Express Publishing during which Time Inc. has provided management services support to the company. Eligible American Express Card Members will continue to receive Departures, Black Ink and Executive Travel.

The American Express Publishing brands reach 36 million consumers worldwide across its portfolio which includes the company’s magazines and branded books, digital properties, social media platforms, membership clubs, retail stores and more than a hundred events and experiences.

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