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Time Inc. stock tanks on dead sale process

Time Inc. shares fell more than 20% in early trading Friday, after the magazine publisher announced that it is removing itself from the auction block.

Data: Money.net; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

What happened: Time stock had been slowly sinking since the company was spun out of Time Warner in mid-2014, but spiked last November after reports of a takeover offer led by former Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. But Time Inc. rejected Bronfman's overtures, and instead launched a wider sale process.

What went wrong: The company's board (and many traders) seemingly believed Bronfman's bid of around $18 per share set a new floor, and that subsequent bids would come in at $20 per share or higher. It was a bad bet, and fairly predictable.

What now: Time Inc. says it plans to pursue its own strategic plan, which includes a continued emphasis on digital over print. It also will pursue "elective portfolio rationalization," which is another term for product sales or shutdowns.

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