April 1, 2016 Last Updated 5:24 pm

Time Inc. sells This Old House brand to former unit president and private equity backer

Eric Thorkilsen, who was president of This Old House Ventures at Time Inc., and the private equity form TZP Group, become of the new owners of the TV and magazine brand

Time Inc. has sold off one of its magazine brands: This Old House, which includes not only a magazine, but a television operations, brand licensing, etc. Time Inc. has inked a deal to continue to provide the new owners with back-end operations such as production subscription marketing and fulfillment and distribution services.

TOH-cover-300The new owners are Eric Thorkilsen who for ten years as was president of This Old House Ventures at Time Inc., backed by the private equity firm TZP Growth Partners I, L.P.

Thorkilsen’s background includes an associate publisher’s post with People magazine, and then being the founding President of Martha Stewart Living when Time Inc. first launched a magazine for the celebrity brand. (Martha Stewart took back the property when she launched Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in 1997.)

Thorkilsen left Time at the end of 2004 and became SVP, Business Development at Scripps Networks, before becoming President, Consumer Media at Move.com (which was not too long ago acquired by News Corp).

For Time Inc., the moves provides the company with a cash infusion. Time Inc. was spun off of Time Warner a little less than two years ago, and saddled with over $1 billion in debt to start life as a separate company. The new media firm has since then made a series of acquisitions, including its recent purchase of iant Technology Inc.

Here is the announcement from the new owners of This Old House:

NEW YORK, NY – April 1, 2016 — Eric Thorkilsen, a veteran media and publishing executive, and TZP Growth Partners I, L.P., announced today that they have acquired This Old House Ventures, LLC, from Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME). A leading multi-platform home improvement brand, This Old House offers homeowners trusted information and expert advice through two highly rated and award-winning television series, one of the category’s leading and fastest-growing online destinations, a highly regarded magazine and comprehensive line of books, as well as capabilities that include custom video production, digital marketing, brand licensing, live events and custom publishing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As a fully integrated, multimedia business, This Old House Ventures, LLC, will manage all of its own core business functions, including original television production, digital content and operations, advertising sales, magazine editorial, brand licensing and marketing from its new headquarters in Stamford, CT, beginning in the summer of 2016. Time Inc. will remain involved with the lifestyle brand through long-term service agreements with the new owners to provide back-office operations, including magazine production, consumer subscription marketing and fulfillment and distribution services. TZP Growth Partners is the third fund raised by the TZP Group, a New York-based private equity firm with over $700 million in committed capital across its family of funds. The investment in This Old House Ventures, LLC, will be TZP Growth Partners’ fourth since it raised $177 million in June 2015. Portico Capital Securities served as financial advisor to the acquirers.

Thorkilsen, who has been named Chief Executive Officer of This Old House Ventures, LLC, said, “I have been a champion of This Old House for the better part of three decades, and it is an honor to be able to rejoin this extraordinary franchise and bring it to a new generation of fans. I could not have made this leap without the support of my partners at TZP, who were steadfast in their resolve that this was a worthy investment.”

The This Old House brand comprises a destination website, thisoldhouse.com, which boasts a robust and passionate audience attracting 5.5 million monthly unique users, including 2.9 million via mobile devices (Omniture). This Old House magazine reaches almost 1 million subscribers, and the companion TV series, “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House,” continue to perform on the awards front with 18 Emmy Awards and 95 nominations (including Daytime Emmy nominations for both series last week in the category of “Outstanding Lifestyle Program”). The series consistently posts the highest ratings in the home improvement category and is among the top 10 of all programs on PBS. Both series are currently in production and will premiere for a 37th season and 15th season, respectively, on PBS stations this fall.

“I thank the This Old House team for their hard work and commitment to Time Inc. over many years,” said Time Inc. Chairman and CEO Joe Ripp. “They’ve got a great new home, and with Eric and TZP Group at the helm, I know they will continue to thrive and succeed.”

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