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TIME GOES INDY: Time Inc. largely held its own on its first day as a publicly traded company, as its shares slid 0.2 percent to close at $23.30 Monday. Time’s stock, which trades as “TIME” on the New York Stock Exchange, opened at $23.07, and ranged between a high of $23.71 and a low of $22.25. After-hours trading remained flat during the hour following the market’s close.
After the close of the stock market, Time Inc. staff attended an office party to fete the company’s independence. It was a welcomed gesture by employees, who have been told since the beginning of the year that restructuring would precede — and proceed after — its spin-off. While hundreds of layoffs have already occurred, the mood hasn’t been completely gloomy, sources have told WWD.
The optimistic chairman and chief executive officer Joe Ripp has contributed to that sentiment — even though there have been reports that he’s asking for cuts of 25 percent from each of the magazines’ editorial budgets.
Ripp, who rang the bell to open the NYSE Monday morning, rallied his employees early. In a memo sent to staff Monday morning, he said: “There are moments in the life of any institution that will be remembered forever. Today, we mark one of those special moments in the history of Time Inc.”
Ripp concluded his note with a sort of battle cry: “We have the best talent in the industry, we have strong cash flows and we have incredible brands. 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.”
Those headwinds include bringing the company’s print publications up to speed by incorporating a more robust digital presence, improving the company’s advertising strategies and partnerships — and then there’s that pesky $1.3 billion of debt that it’s been saddled with since it broke off from Time Warner.