Time Inc. rejected two overtures from Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Access Industries that offered at least $18 per share for the country's largest magazine publisher, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Bronfman, a managing partner at private-equity firm Accretive LLC, and Access Industries, an industrial group founded by investor Len Blavatnik, made an offer for Time Inc. in the spring that was spurned by the company, one of the people said.
The $18-per-share figure was at the low end of a range of prices the bidding group proposed, the person said. They came back two or three weeks ago, but didn't offer a higher bid because Time Inc.'s business has weakened this year. There are no ongoing discussions.
News of the most recent offer was earlier reported by the New York Post.
Time Inc., owner of titles such as People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, has increasingly focused on digital investments as the print business has worsened industrywide. Most recently, Time Inc. launched the People/Entertainment Weekly streaming video network.
In November the company reported that total revenue fell 3% to $750 million for the September quarter. Time Inc. also reduced its forecast for the year, saying revenue was likely to be flat to 1% lower in 2016; earlier it had expected revenue this year to increase up to 1.5%.
Mr. Bronfman has past business ties to Mr. Blavatnik. Mr. Bronfman was chairman and CEO of the Warner Music Group when it was purchased by Access Industries in 2011 for more than $3 billion.
A person familiar with the bidding group said the potential investors believe that Time Inc.'s brands are among the best-known in the world and represent untapped value separate from the magazines themselves.
This person added that it's unclear how well magazines will survive in the digital landscape, but that "there is a lot of business to be done."
An $18-a-share bid represents a 30% premium to Time Inc.'s closing stock price of $13.60 on Friday, before news of the latest offer surfaced, and would value Time Inc. at roughly $1.8 billion. Time Inc.'s shares rose nearly 18% to $16 Monday following news of the rejected bid.
One person familiar with the situation said that Time Inc. didn't view the inquiry as a formal offer.
Time Inc. has undergone a significant reorganization this year affecting management and its sales team. Joe Ripp, who took the reins as CEO before the company's spinoff from Time Warner Inc. in June 2014, stepped down inSeptember following a health scare.
Mr. Ripp was succeeded by Rich Battista, who subsequently named his own new management team, including Jen Wong as chief operating officer.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 28, 2016 16:45 ET (21:45 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.