Time Inc. Sells This Old House to Erik Thorkilsen, TZP Growth Partners
On April 1st Time Inc. announced the sale of This Old House to the brand’s former president Eric Thorkilsen and TZP Growth Partners L.P. The sale includes the 11-year-old magazine, thisoldhouse.com, a line of books, and two television series -- 37-year-old “This Old House” and 15-year-old companion show “Ask This Old House.” According to a press release Time Inc. will remain involved with the brand through long-term service agreements. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Thorkilsen, who ran This Old House at Time Inc. from 1995 to 2004, has been named CEO of This Old House Ventures, LLC. He said in a press release, “I have been a champion of This Old House for the better part of three decades, and it is an honor to be able to rejoin this extraordinary franchise and bring it to a new generation of fans.”
According to The New York Post, employees at Time Inc. complained that digital resources were not being devoted to titles like This Old House because of CEO Joe Ripp’s mandate to scale digital properties in sports, style, and entertainment segments. “This Old House just did not fit with their game plan,” Thorkilsen told The New York Post. “It was a profitable brand, that is why we are buying it. For sure it will have some new digital pieces. It will be a priority for us -- it wasn’t for them.”
Real Simple managing editor Susan Wyland will become editor-in-chief of the magazine, replacing 12-year editor Scott Omelianuk who declined to stay with the brand and will be pursuing an opportunity in television. The majority of the other 50 employees under This Old House Ventures will remain with the company.
Read the full press release below.
New York, NY (April 1, 2016)—Eric Thorkilsen, a veteran media and publishing executive, and TZP Growth Partners I, L.P., announced today that they have acquired This Old House Ventures, LLC, from Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME). A leading multi-platform home improvement brand, This Old House offers homeowners trusted information and expert advice through two highly rated and award-winning television series, one of the category’s leading and fastest-growing online destinations, a highly regarded magazine and comprehensive line of books, as well as capabilities that include custom video production, digital marketing, brand licensing, live events and custom publishing. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
As a fully integrated, multimedia business, This Old House Ventures, LLC, will manage all of its own core business functions, including original television production, digital content and operations, advertising sales, magazine editorial, brand licensing and marketing from its new headquarters in Stamford, CT, beginning in the summer of 2016. Time Inc. will remain involved with the lifestyle brand through long-term service agreements with the new owners to provide back-office operations, including magazine production, consumer subscription marketing and fulfillment and distribution services. TZP Growth Partners is the third fund raised by the TZP Group, a New York-based private equity firm with over $700 million in committed capital across its family of funds. The investment in This Old House Ventures, LLC, will be TZP Growth Partners’ fourth since it raised $177 million in June 2015. Portico Capital Securities served as financial advisor to the acquirers.
Thorkilsen, who has been named Chief Executive Officer of This Old House Ventures, LLC, said, “I have been a champion of This Old House for the better part of three decades, and it is an honor to be able to rejoin this extraordinary franchise and bring it to a new generation of fans. I could not have made this leap without the support of my partners at TZP, who were steadfast in their resolve that this was a worthy investment.”
The This Old House brand comprises a destination website, thisoldhouse.com, which boasts a robust and passionate audience attracting 5.5 million monthly unique users, including 2.9 million via mobile devices (Omniture). This Old House magazine reaches almost 1 million subscribers, and the companion TV series, “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House,” continue to perform on the awards front with 18 Emmy Awards and 95 nominations (including Daytime Emmy nominations for both series last week in the category of “Outstanding Lifestyle Program”). The series consistently posts the highest ratings in the home improvement category and is among the top 10 of all programs on PBS. Both series are currently in production and will premiere for a 37th season and 15th season, respectively, on PBS stations this fall.
“I thank the This Old House team for their hard work and commitment to Time Inc. over many years,” said Time Inc. Chairman and CEO Joe Ripp. “They’ve got a great new home, and with Eric and TZP Group at the helm, I know they will continue to thrive and succeed.”
About TZP Group LLC
TZP Group, a private equity firm with more than $700 million under management across its family of funds, is focused on investments in business and consumer services companies. Founded in 2007, TZP targets companies with solid historical profitability and sustainable value propositions and aims to be a "Partner of Choice" for business owners and management teams. TZP seeks to invest primarily in closely held, private companies where the owners desire to retain a significant stake and partner with an investor with complementary operating and financial skills to accelerate company growth, increase profitability, and maximize the value of their retained stake. TZP leverages its investment professionals' operating and transaction experience to provide strategic and operational guidance and is dedicated to long-term value creation. For more information, please visit www.tzpgroup.com.
About Time Inc.
Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is one of the world's leading media companies, with a monthly global print audience of over 120 million and worldwide digital properties that attract more than 150 million visitors each month, including over 60 websites. Our influential brands include People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Time, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the United Kingdom.