Meredith Corp. has contacted Time Inc. to express interest in a potential merger, according to people familiar with the matter, rekindling a possible tie-up that died in 2013.
Other strategic companies and privately held businesses have also been in touch with Time about a possible deal, one of the people said. No talks have yet been held with interested parties, the person said. Time shares climbed as much as 11 percent Thursday before closing at $18.95, up 2.7 percent.
Time’s board is expected to meet later this month to discuss its options, which include pushing forward as an independent company, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public.
Meredith’s interest in Time would pose a challenge to Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Ynon Kreiz, who remain interested in the iconic magazine publisher despite having their offer of about $2 billion spurned late last year, the people said.
Shares in Time are up 13 percent since that bid was revealed, giving it a market value of about $1.8 billion.
Meredith, based in Des Moines, hasn’t yet decided whether it wants to double down on publishing instead of trying to gain scale in broadcasting, the people said.
Representatives for New York-based Time and Meredith declined to comment.
Meredith owns magazines including Better Homes and Gardens and Parents and 14 broadcast TV stations reaching about 12 million U.S. households, according to the company’s website. Time publishes magazines including its eponymous Time title, as well as Sports Illustrated and Fortune.
Media General Inc., the Richmond, Va.-based broadcast and digital media company, agreed to acquire Meredith in 2015, putting together the two companies’ TV stations. That deal fell apart last year when Nexstar agreed to buy Media General as a counter proposal.
Time and Meredith discussed a deal in 2013 that would have brought the bulk of Time’s U.S. magazine titles under Meredith’s ownership, a person familiar with the talks said at the time. The decision to scrap the Meredith merger led to Time — which was then still owned by Time Warner Inc. — being spun off into an independent company.
“We are interested in expanding across all of our platforms,” Meredith Chief Financial Officer Joseph Ceryanec said Wednesday at the Citi Global Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Las Vegas.
Ceryanec said the company would look at expanding across all of Meredith’s platforms, including magazine, digital and local broadcast.
“Obviously we’re not going to comment on any specific deal at this point,” he said.