"After a thorough review of options, we believe that a
separation will better position both Time Warner and Time Inc,"
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement. "A complete
spin-off of Time Inc. provides strategic clarity for Time Warner
Inc., enabling us to focus entirely on our television networks and
film and TV production businesses, and improves our growth profile.
Time Inc. will also benefit from the flexibility and focus of being
a stand-alone public company and will now be able to attract a more
natural stockholder base. As we saw with the prior spin-offs of
Time Warner Cable and
AOL, we expect the separation will create additional value for our
Under the proposed deal with Meredith, Time Inc. would have held
onto a few non-female-centric titles -- most notably Time and
Sports Illustrated. But The New York Times reported this
afternoon that Time Warner had broken off the talks after being
concerned about what it would do with the four magazines it
wouldn't have merged with Meredith. Soon after that report
surfaced, Time Warner sent out a press release announcing its
desire to create a separate public company.
Ms. Lang is expected to stay on during the transition, but not
run Time Inc. once it becomes a separate public company. She was
poached from Digitas in November
2011 to bring a level of sophistication to the way that Time
Inc. services digital marketers.
The company rolled out several new ad products
under her watch in an effort to capitalize on its wealth of
data on its subscribers. But the company's fortunes did not seem to
be improving. In January, Time Inc. announced that it was laying off 500
employees -- its largest round of cuts since 2008. Time Inc.
revenue declined 7% in 2012, with advertising revenue dropping
When Ms. Lang left Digitas for Time
Inc., she was coming from the largest digital agency in the U.S.,
with more than $500 million in revenue in 2010, according to Ad Age
DataCenter. The decision to leave was a tough
one, she told the staff in a memo, especially considering she had
helped take Digitas public and then later helped sell it to
Publicis Groupe. Still, she found the Time Inc. CEO gig as "an
opportunity to influence the industry from a different sector."
Considering that experience, the question will now be whether
Ms. Lang will return to ad land if she can land a similarly
Here's her resignation memo to staff:
March 6, 2013
To: Time Inc. Employees
From: Laura Lang
Re: Today's News
Today's news that Time Warner plans to spin off Time Inc. is
something that everyone is just beginning to digest. While there
are many questions that can only be answered in time, one thing is
already clear: the hard work we have done over the past year in
maintaining our core business while at the same time becoming more
digitally focused has positioned the company well. Time Inc. has
incredible talent and great brands that will continue to lead our
The planned spin-off has also made me reflect on what is the
best path for me and the company going forward. After considerable
thought, I have decided that taking the company through a
transition to the public markets is not where my passion lies. Jeff
has been extremely supportive and I am committed to working
together with him on recruiting the right person to lead Time Inc.
at the spin.
I want to thank all of you for your support over the past year.
You welcomed me warmly and jumped in enthusiastically as we charted
a course. I look forward to working with you as we continue to make