March 20, 2017 Last Updated 4:27 pm

With bids due for possible sale, Time Inc. cancels White House correspondents’ dinner pre-party

The annual dinner, still scheduled for April 29, will not see the president attend, and so far no other member of the administration has confirmed an appearance, leading many media companies to wonder why they should bother this year

This could be an interesting week at Time Inc. They are in the news today on two fronts: one was the news that the company’s Time and People magazines would not host their long-standing White House correspondents’ dinner pre-party; the other was through news from Valassis that Mark Ellis, previously Time Inc.’s president of sales and marketing, would be joining the Detroit-area company as chief revenue officer.

Ellis is a Detroit native, and he got his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Detroit. He was brought in by Joe Ripp in 2014, when Ripp was CEO – but he’s gone now, and so is Ellis.

As for the party usually held at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C… well, it doesn’t sound like this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on April 29 will be much of an event as no one knows who from the administration will attend – it certainly won’t be the president. The event is much criticized as it is – but, you know, red carpets and journalists continue to be a thing.

“This year we have decided to focus on supporting the White House Correspondents’ Association, which plays a crucial role in advocating for the broadest possible access for the press at the White House,” Alan Murray, Time chief content officer, said in a statement.

Vanity Fair earlier cancelled their after-the-dinner-party, and the New Yorker has cancelled their kickoff party held at the W Hotel.

Here’s an idea: why not every journalist in town bring a bottle and meet at the Lincoln Memorial?

The real news this week would be that the Time Inc. had decided on a buyer. Meredith is still considered the front-runner, but if they are to win they would probably have to sell off some of the titles (likely the weeklies) as they would be assuming a fair amount of debt. But we’ve come this far so every day that passes actually makes a sale more likely. Buyers and sellers tend to get more enthusiastic to complete a deal as time goes on, unless they know they’ve over paid, in which case they begin to get cold feet. But M&A pros will tell you that there is a certainly momentum that builds up during these things.

The real issue will be whether the board prefers a sale to continuing down the road being set by current CEO Rich Battista. Time Inc. is moving towards more video content and less print, but has yet to turn the corner so that print declines are more than offset by gains in digital and other new content being created.

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