Media Lifeline: IPC

From slimming down its management structure to thinning out its magazine portfolio, IPC is getting leaner.

December 2008: Time Inc's UK subsidiary, IPC, promotes Evelyn Webster, the managing director of its women's division, IPC Connect, to chief executive. She succeeds Sylvia Auton, who moves to New York as an executive vice-president of Time Inc.

November 2009: As the recession bites, Webster announces plans to simplify and thin out IPC's management structure. Out go the five existing divisions - Southbank, TX, Ignite, Inspire and Connect - and in come three new units, housing men's titles, mass-market women's titles and upmarket women's titles. The highest-profile casualty is Eric Fuller, the managing director of Ignite, the home of Nuts, Loaded and the NME.

April 2010: Webster announces a strategic review of IPC's portfolio of specialist titles that includes the likes of Decanter. It hopes to sell off as many of these titles as it can - Webster argues this will free up funding for the multi-platform development of IPC's consumer brands.

August 2010: But the review is only weeks old when there's a surprise announcement - Webster and Auton are effectively to swap jobs. Webster is being moved to the US to become the executive vice-president of the lifestyle division at Time Inc, reporting to Jack Griffin, the group's chief executive; while Auton is returning to London to take up the position of chief executive once more.

March 2011: Now IPC reveals that, having found buyers for 20 of its titles (including Wedding and Wedding Flowers, Hi-Fi News and Caravan), it has now drawn a line under the disposal process. Although Loaded was not part of the strategic review, it has also been disposed of - and IPC now states that "no further redundancies or sales are anticipated for 2011".

Fast forward ...

September 2011: But Time now announces that it is looking either at a disposal of the whole company in a trade sale or, failing that, will spin it off via a stock market flotation. Rival publishers immediately express keen interest - and keenest of all (fresh from its disappointment in failing to acquire Northern & Shell's consumer titles) is Hearst's UK subsidiary, The National Magazine Company.