Time Warner will spin off its magazine business later this year, turning the nine-decade-old publisher of Time, People and Sports Illustrated into a separate publicly held company.
The board authorized management to proceed with the plan after a review of options, the New York-based media company said Wednesday in a statement. As part of the move, Time Chief Executive Officer Laura Lang will step down from the role.
"A complete spinoff of Time Inc. provides strategic clarity for Time Warner Inc., enabling us to focus entirely on our television networks and film and TV production businesses," Jeff Bewkes, CEO of the parent company, said in the statement. "Time Inc. will also benefit from the flexibility and focus of being a stand-alone public company and will now be able to attract a more natural stockholder base."
The move represents Time Warner's third major spinoff since Bewkes became CEO in 2008, letting the company focus on faster- growing businesses. Time Warner Cable, the second-largest U.S. cable company, became independent in March 2009. Time Warner spun off AOL, the dial-up Internet service that is remaking itself as a Web publisher, later that year.
Time Warner's magazine assets could be worth as much as $3.2 billion, based on estimates published last month by John Janedis, an analyst at UBS AG in New York.
The spinoff decision follows an attempt to divest some of Time Warner's magazines to Meredith, the Des Moines, Iowa- based publisher of Better Homes and Gardens.