So the great IPC yard sale continues, with titles flying around the country to a variety of smaller publishers. This was obviously Sylvia Auton’s mission on her return from the states, but although we can see the results, we don’t yet have an idea of the overall strategic picture.
Are IPC hoping to become leaner, meaner and more focused in order to deliver better margins to Time, or to strip out dead wood to make the company more attractive to a purchaser? IPC’s previous experience with a venture capital owner wasn’t a particularly happy one, but it hasn’t exactly been a barrel of laughs for everyone as part of Time.
What does seem clear is that not much money is changing hands for the magazines that are being sold. In all cases so far the terms of the deal are being kept quiet (suspicious in itself – work is usually done to try to massage the ‘value’ of the sale price up to make the seller look successful and the buyer look important) and the sales are going through with almost indecent haste. Further evidence comes from looking at the companies that are acquiring the magazines – Warners, Kelsey, Chelsea, Anthem, Vitality are not exactly known for being profligate.
Inevitably, when the music stops there are going to be some titles that don’t have new partners, so it will be the traditional publishers’ happy Christmas again this year – a wave of consultations on closing titles just in time for the mince pies.