Time Inc said Monday it will license its Fortune brand for stock indexes based on the Fortune 500 in a new partnership with Barclays PLC in an effort to diversify Time’s revenue into the growing index-investing business. The Barclays Fortune 500 Equal Weighted Index will launch in July, tracking about 450 publicly traded companies with a combined revenue of more than $11 trillion, Dupe Adeyemo, a director at Barclays, told Reuters. The index will exclude private companies, master limited partnerships and companies that do not meet liquidity requirements among the Fortune 500, Adeyemo said.
Time, which like many of its publishing peers has been struggling as print circulation shrinks and advertisers shift to digital platforms, will aim to broaden its revenue with the partnership as index-based investing is increasing in popularity. “We’re trying to be more creative about ways to expand our brand,” said Brian O’Keefe, deputy editor of Fortune magazine. “Frankly, this index should have been done a long time ago.” In addition to the magazine, the brand hosts conferences such as the “Most Powerful Women Summit” and is expanding online.
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Time declined to discuss the financial terms of the partnership. Revenue-weighted and profit-weighted indexes are planned for the fourth quarter this year, Adeyemo said. “We think a name like Fortune that resonates with the public … will distinguish ourselves among other ETFs that come out in the market,” Adeyemo said. The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks 500 of the largest U.S. corporations by total revenue.
It is unclear if Time Inc will be able to generate meaningful revenue by getting into the index business. “The licensing of indices is not a phenomenally lucrative business,” said Dave Nadig, chief executive officer of ETF.com, based in New York. Time evaluated a sale earlier this year, but talks with Meredith Corp failed when the two could not agree on price . Earlier this month, Time eliminated 300 positions or 4 percent of its workforce. Over the past 12 months, index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds pulled in $718 billion, while active funds bled $152 billion, according to the Thomson Reuters research service Lipper.