Time Warner Postpones Time Inc. Spin-Off Until Early 2014

By Steve Cohn

Time Warner Inc. chairman/CEO Jeff Bewkes announced Aug. 7 that the completion of the spin-off of publisher Time Inc. will not occur until after the new year. Dec. 31 had been the target since March 7, when Bewkes revealed the TW plans to make Time Inc. "a standalone public company that will be able to attract a more natural shareholder base."

The reason is to give incoming Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp more time to acclimate and set strategies once he starts after Labor Day. Ripp’s hire was not made until July 22 after overtures to Minneapolis Star Tribune publisher/CEO Mike Klingensmith and possibly others were turned down.

Bewkes’ statement was part of conference call with analysts that accompanied Time Warner’s second-quarter and first-half earnings. All units except Time Inc. were up, and TW stock hit a year-to-date high of $66.01 per share, +38.8% versus the Jan. 2 opening at $48.83.