Second-round bids were originally due at the end of November, but Time Inc. was too slow supplying information for any contenders to do so, according to people involved. More information is coming this week and next, but now the next bids aren't expected before Jan. 2.
One contender said the slowdown is worrisome because personnel at the properties being sold -- comprising the Parenting Group and most of the Time4 Media titles, like Field & Stream and Popular Science -- are already nervous about their futures. The longer the sale process takes, the more time employees have to get resumes out.
Time Inc. declined to comment.
Contenders in the second round are said to include Stockholm's Bonnier Magazine Group, which entered the U.S. five months ago when it bought a 49% stake in World Publications, publisher of titles like Saveur and Spa; Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III, president-CEO at enthusiast publisher Active Interest Media and the former CEO of Times Mirror Magazines; former Time Inc. Exec VP Jack Haire, working with backing from Boston Ventures; J. Russell Denson, the onetime president-CEO of Gruner & Jahr USA; and Kent Brownridge, the former No. 2 at Wenner Media who is looking for a way back into the magazine business.