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In Play Today: Time Inc. nears sale; Flipkart eyeing eBay's Indian operations

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents In Play Today, a periodic summary of potential deal activity in the sector, including rumored transactions. This summary is based on information obtained by S&P Global Market Intelligence and may not be inclusive of all potential deal activity. Send comments and news leads to


* Time Inc. is close to a sale of its business, which could value the media company at more than $20 per share, or about $2 billion, Bloomberg News reported March 24, citing people familiar with the process. Among those interested in the company are a group that includes Pamplona Capital Management, Meredith Corp., and at least two other parties, according to the report. If no deal materializes, Time Inc. may decide to individually sell its magazine titles and re-channel its investments into digital.

* Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart is planning to buy eBay Inc.'s Indian operations, two people familiar with the discussions told consumer tech publication FactorDaily. The deal is reportedly part of an effort to raise $2 billion in order to better compete with Inc. in the country, according to the March 23 report.

* Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is in discussions to acquire the 81% stake that it does not already own in premium pay TV channel EPIX (US) from Viacom Inc. and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Reuters reported March 9, citing sources familiar with the matter. Viacom reportedly wants to divest its 50% EPIX stake to reduce its $12 billion debt. A potential deal values EPIX in the range of $1 billion to $2 billion, according to the report.

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* An investment group led by former Warner Music Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. bowed out of the race to acquire Time Inc., Reuters reported March 8, citing a source familiar with the matter. The group, which also includes Len Blavatnik's Access Industries and media executive Ynon Kreiz, reportedly concluded that Time Inc. was asking a deal price that was too high, given the publisher's needed turnaround to return to revenue growth.

* Tronc Inc. is in late-stage discussions to buy Wenner Media LLC-owned US Weekly for roughly $90 million, the New York Post reported March 7, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The talks may not lead to any deal, according to one person with knowledge of the matter, as they are still not concrete.

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. is in preliminary stages of talks to merge with Tribune Media Co., Reuters reported March 1, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. Sources said Sinclair could also consider acquiring parts of Tribune such as The CW (US) broadcast stations, or its media assets such as the WGN America (US) cable network and its stake in the Food Network (US).