Time Inc. Shares Slip Nearly 1% on First Day of Trading

Publisher of People and Time Saw Sharp Losses Earlier in the Day

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Time Inc.'s headquarters, the Time & Life Building, in Manhattan.
Time Inc.'s headquarters, the Time & Life Building, in Manhattan.

Shares in Time Inc., owner of People, Sports Illustrated and Time magazines, were off nearly 1% to $23.30 Monday, its first day of trading as a public company.

The company's share price had tumbled about 4% after trading began but regained much of the lost ground during the afternoon.

Time Inc. is the nation's largest magazine publisher and the only pure-play magazine company to trade publicly after parent Time Warner decided to spin off the underperforming publishing unit. Time Warner now plans to focus on its entertainment properties, including HBO, Turner networks and CNN. Shares of Time Warner were up more than 1% Monday to $68.99.

In a memo to employees Monday, Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp acknowledged the headwinds his company faces but struck an optimistic tone, thanking employees for their hard work leading up to Monday's spinoff.

"We have the best talent in the industry, we have strong cash flows and we have incredible brands," said Mr. Ripp, who rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange Monday. "We have relationships with all of the country's leading advertisers, we are one of the best direct marketers in the world, and we have extraordinary reach. We have the power, the intelligence, the resources and the drive to succeed no matter what headwinds we may face."

But employee morale has diminished due to anxiety about potential layoffs that a front-page New York Times story on Monday helped to fuel. The story cited two people who said Time Inc. leaders told editors they were expected to make "deep cuts in staffing and other areas -- totaling 25% of editorial costs -- in the coming months."

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