Time, Inc. Looking to Sell Majority Stake In Essence Magazine

Editor-In-Chief at Essence Magazine Vanessa K. De Luca, left, and President of Essence Communications Michelle Ebanks at Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards, part of the brand’s event business that Time Inc. CEO Rich Battista applauded. (Earl Gibson III/Stringer/Getty Images for Essence)

Despite its CEO believing Essence magazine is a core asset, Time Inc. as a whole apparently disagrees and has announced it is selling a majority stake in the Black women’s lifestyle magazine.

In the first big act for the mass media corporation since declaring it would not sell itself in April, Time Inc. hopes to finish its deal with Essence by the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We want to unlock the value here,” Time Inc. CEO Rich Battista told the newspaper. “We think the best way to do that is to bring in a strategic partner with investment capital. We’re keeping an interest because we see [a] real upside.”

Time Inc., which AdWeek reported has struggled with low print advertisements and decreased circulation revenue, is now focusing on its “core assets and core areas of growth,” like Time, People and InStyle magazines and seeks to jettison its “noncore assets,” according to the WSJ.

When Time Inc. decided not to sell itself earlier this year, The New York Post reported it mentioned their sell-offs could occur through “selective portfolio rationalization.” However, Battista told WSJ he still saw Essence as part of the company’s “core” and noted the magazine’s increased digital presence and event business. One of those event businesses, Essence Festival, welcomed 470,000 guests to New Orleans this year, which is an increase of 20,000 since last year, The Times-Picayune reported.

Time Inc. purchased a 49-percent stake in Essence Communications Partners in 2000, according to The New York Times, and five years later, bought another 51 percent.

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