AOL Time Warner buys IPC for £1.15bn

LONDON - As expected, Time Inc has concluded its deal to acquire IPC Media from venture capital owners Cinven for £1.15bn.

The two have been in talks for weeks now to put together a deal that would give the US media giant its first publishing foothold in Europe. At one point in mid June, it is believed that talks between the two broke down over a failure to agree a price.

For Cinven, the £1.15bn deal represents a good return on the £860m management buyout of IPC from Reed Elsevier it led in January 1998.

IPC is the UK's leading consumer magazine publisher with approximately 100 brands, selling 350m magazines annually.

Don Logan, chairman and CEO of Time Inc, said, "This is the perfect acquisition for AOL Time Warner because it accomplishes key strategic goals for the company. With some of the best-known consumer publishing brands in Europe, IPC provides Time Inc with an important presence within the European consumer publishing sector. This acquisition also furthers AOL Time Warner's goal of expanding our operations outside of the US."

IPC publishes some of the UK's best-known magazine titles including What's on TV, TV Times, Woman, Woman's Own, Marie Claire, Loaded, NME, Country Life and Horse & Hound.

In 1998, IPC acquired Link House Media and added more than 30 brands to its portfolio, and has also launched a total of 12 new print and online brands, plus numerous brand extensions, since the buyout.

Sly Bailey, CEO of IPC, said, "Cinven has played an important part in providing an environment in which IPC's management has been able to build the business. We now look forward to becoming part of the world's largest media company."

The closing of the transaction is conditional upon securing EU regulatory clearances and other customary conditions. However, the deal is very unlikely to face any regulatory hurdles.

Gordon MacMillan recommends

IPC Media

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