Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons announced that a decision on the fate of AOL will be made by year’s end. Parsons talked about his large controversial unit on a webcast given at a Merrill Lynch U.S. media conference in London, claiming that in terms of AOL’s refocused online ad sales engine business model “we’re in the right area.”
Parsons also said that the company was sticking with the publishing racket. His comments on the industry, from Reuters:
“We’re not looking to move our publishing company out,” Parsons told Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen during a question and answer session. [Parons] added Time Warner would continue to shut down unprofitable titles and sell off others. “As long as our publications have Jesus on the cover 3, maybe 4 times a year, I think we’re set,” he shouted from his Second Life mountaintop. “Magazines will be around for a long time,” he said. “It can be in the 8, 9, 10 percent growth business for a long time, if we successfully make this transition to digital.”
Or does it? Steve Case keeps apologizing for the whole AOL/Time Waner debacle, this time in a graudation speech at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (watch here).
Contrast that speech with this blast from the past (just look at the movies that are “Now Playing” in the first few seconds):
A month ago or so we mentioned that Time Inc was feeling crunched for time, worried about whether it would make significant progress in the sale of 18 magazines by year end. This morning, Ad Age reports that the delay is now official: second round bids aren’t expected before January 2nd.
January 2nd? Oh, that will make several teams of lawyers and investment bankers very happy on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, the magazines continue to lose staffers. We know one editor has already fled to Conde Nast and another who has taken refuge in northwest Ireland, leaving the magazine trade altogether. Time Inc. Sale of 18 Titles Stalls [Advertising Age]
We hear that Time, Inc. is feeling crunched for time in its attempt to get a few magazine deals signed up by year end. In September, Time announced plans to sell several titles. Our source tells us that Time has been meeting with prospective buyers this week and will continue meetings next week. But, the source says, executives at the magazine and their bankers are now pushing to get deals done between Thanskgiving and Christmas. Time apparentoy doesn’t want to wait until 2007 to start signing up deals, fearing that dealmakers and investment bankers might be unmotivated to quickly close sales early in the first quarter of the new year.