Time spins lower in first trades as separate company

Shares in magazine publishing giant Time Inc. lost ground Monday in the first trading day after its spinoff from US media conglomerate Time Warner.

Trading under the symbol "TIME" the publishing group dropped 0.77 percent to close at $23.30.

The split formalized Friday separated the publisher of the famed Time newsweekly from media giant Time Warner, ending a marriage that merged the two firms in 1990.

The new firm is the latest publishing spinoff from a big conglomerate. It comes on the heels of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. splitting its entertainment and publishing segments, and a similar action planned by Tribune Co.

Morgan Stanley analyst Toni Kaplan said in a note to clients that the new company is likely to see hard times in the short term.

"The magazine industry is in secular decline, and Time's revenue has been falling," Kaplan said in a research note.

But the analyst added that the spinoff could allow Time to invest and find new growth opportunities.

"Hypothetically, Time could be a beneficiary of potential industry consolidation," Kaplan said.

Media analyst Ken Doctor said the outlook is murky for the new Time Inc.

"Time Inc. enters life where it began 92 years ago, in Henry Luce's vision: a standalone magazine company," Doctor said in a blog post.

"We'll begin to see this week which story traders buy: a revivified collection of brands newly primed for digital times, or a hapless, saddled-with-debt company just entering a new stage of decline."

In addition to its flagship magazine begun in 1922, the company has iconic titles like Fortune, begun in 1929; Sports Illustrated, launched in 1954; and People, which premiered in 1974, as well as some 50 international editions for print or digital.

When its finances are calculated independently, the unit showed a modest net profit of $201 million on revenues of $3.35 billion in 2013.