Time Inc. C.E.O. Joe Ripp to ring morning bell, amid troubling reports

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Joe Ripp. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
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In just about 15 minutes, Time Inc. C.E.O. Joe Ripp will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and this morning he struck a bullish tone about the company's spinoff from Time Warner as the magazine publisher begins trading as a standalone entity.

"We have the best talent in the industry, we have strong cash flows and we have incredible brands," Ripp wrote in a memo to empoyees. "We have relationships with all of the country’s leading advertisers, we are one of the best direct marketers in the world, and we have extraordinary reach. We have the power, the intelligence, the resources and the drive to succeed no matter what headwinds we may face."

Those headwinds include massive debt and ongoing print revenue struggles as readers continue to migrate to the web, all of which is closely documented this morning in an article on the front page of The New York Times, where David Carr and Ravi Somaiya also reported a planned downsizing of Time Inc's editorial budget by as much as 25 percent.

Ripp is expected to make the round of TV news programs after the bell-ringing to talk up the split.

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Here is his full note:

Dear Colleagues,

There are moments in the life of any institution that will be remembered forever. Today, we mark one of those special moments in the history of Time Inc. This morning, we shall ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and a new registrant with the symbol TIME will start trading. We are once again an independent public company—the first time since January 1990 when Time Inc. merged with Warner Communications.

Much has changed since 1990. There is no doubt we face strong headwinds in this business. But when I returned to Time Inc. nine months ago, I said I believed this company could do incredible things. I remember the company that shaped the agenda for the nation. I remember the company that started HBO and revolutionized the way the country consumed video content. I remember the company that became the largest and most successful publishing company on earth. We are still that company.

Henry Luce, beginning with the idea that a weekly newsmagazine would help enlighten readers, built an institution that changed the world. From this historic day we embrace Luce’s entrepreneurial spirit as we and the changing media landscape evolve. As stewards of this great organization, we shall determine its future.

I believe companies do great things because they reject the notion that they cannot. We have the best talent in the industry, we have strong cash flows and we have incredible brands. We have relationships with all of the country’s leading advertisers, we are one of the best direct marketers in the world, and we have extraordinary reach. We have the power, the intelligence, the resources and the drive to succeed no matter what headwinds we may face.

As we begin this journey, I want to thank all of you for your extraordinary work over the past months. Managing change is incredibly hard but you have risen to the occasion and stayed focused and productive. We have a long road ahead and I am honored to be part of this great company as we build our future together.

I hope you will watch live as we ring the bell at the Stock Exchange this morning at 9:30AM ET.Click the viewing link here: https://nyse.nyx.com/the-bell/todays-bells-live. And later, we shall all celebrate our first full day as a publicly traded company.

Best,

Joe