So as we suspected, Time Warner has shot down any speculation about the immediate future of Time Inc: CEO Jeff Bewkes told Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic Monthly‘s “First Draft of History” conference in Washington that the mag giant is not for sale. “People made these rumors because they want a lot of activity,” he said (cited by Jeff Bercovici here). Asked if TW will be in the mag business five years from now, his answer was: yes. “Yeah, and I think the magazine business has plenty of expansion in it…It is true that the magazine business, right now, during this recession, is having a bit of an advertising recession, but the thing to remember about magazines in general and certainly our magazines is the readership is solid, the readership is holding up, the readers are happy, the titles are thriving.” In light of Time Inc’s efforts for a digital mag consortium as we noted earlier this morning, it is trying, that’s for sure. But that could and will exist separate from Time Warner (NYSE: TWX). My sense is Bewkes wants to watch the AOL spinoff first, see how that works out, and then take a decision on Time Inc by second half of next year.
Asked about Comcast’s bid for NBCU, he clearly wasn’t a fan of the idea itself. “We’ve wasted some of the money in deals on the corporate level…We have this new idea where we don’t do that anymore.”