NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Time Inc. (TIME) is trying its hardest to look clean and well-dressed as it moves out of the house, but it's parent, Time Warner (TWX), has made it very difficult.
And if investor to response to the publisher's first day of trading is any indication, the future looks worrisome. Time shares were dropping 3.6% to $22.64 on Monday.
The publisher of Time magazine, People, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and a bevy of other titles, was spun-off by Time Warner making it the world's largest publicly-traded magazine publisher. While its brands are globally-recognized, sales are declining, and the new company will carry $1.4 billion in debt, a combination that has won it "junk" status from Moody's Investor Service, the credit rating agency.
Time Inc. remains a formidable presence in publishing. Its titles capture nearly one-quarter of all magazine advertising. Yet in the modern era, Time's popularity is under pressure from countless newfangled online newcomers.
The publisher's inevitable split from Time Warner had been expected at least since 2008 when Jeff Bewkes took over as CEO and quickly moved to carve out AOL (AOL) and Time Warner Cable (TWC). Time Inc. required a more delicate hand. For one, the publisher's position within the company, specifically Time magazine, extends back to its founding in 1923. That's a lot history, not easily jettisoned. (Time Inc. and Warner Communications merged in 1990).
Secondly, Time's revenue has declined in five of the past seven years. Clearly, this is a business with some issues.