Be sure you read Time Inc‘s financial documents if you’re tempted to buy the company’s stock next year when Time Warner spins it off. The initial SEC filing today shows that it’s a fixer-upper. The No. 1 magazine company– whose 23 U.S. titles include Time, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, People, and Sports Illustrated — says that its long term strategies “have not met management’s original expectations” and are being changed. But the publisher “had several recent changes in executive leadership” that have been “disruptive to our business” and may make it “more difficult to attract and retain the key employees we need to meet our strategic objectives.” Joseph Ripp became CEO in September, replacing Laura Lang. Ripp is still examining operations; once he’s finished he’ll “be better positioned to articulate areas of strategic emphasis for our business.” Lawyers believe the spin off should be tax-free. But if the IRS disagrees then Time Inc “could be required to indemnify Time Warner for the resulting taxes and related expenses” which “could materially adversely affect our financial condition.” The preliminary filing leaves blank details about the initial value of the shares. But the document shows that in the first nine months of this year Time Inc’s net income at $135M was flat vs the same period last year while revenues fell 3.3% to $2.39B. The company vows to make make its operations more efficient as it explores opportunities to develop “more immersive tablet editions, licensing, and events.” Ripp’s compensation agreement should provide him with at least $5M including $1M in salary, $1.5M target bonus, and $2.5M in long term compensation. He also received $3.75M in Time Warner stock — to be converted into Time Inc shares — to make up for the compensation he gave up when he left OneSource Information Services where he was CEO.
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