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Time Inc. parent Meredith to close Tampa center, laying off 500

By Malena Carollo | Times Staff
Published: February 9, 2018 Updated: February 9, 2018 at 05:39 PM
Workers cover up Time Inc. signage with Meredith Corp. signage at the Time Inc. office building in Lower Manhattan on Jan. 31 in New York City. On Wednesday, Meredith completed and finalized its multi-billion dollar purchase of Time. [Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

TAMPA — Meredith Corp., the Iowa-based media conglomerate that bought Time Inc. last month, is shutting down Time’s Tampa-based customer service arm, Meredith said Friday. Time Customer Service Inc. has 600 employees, 500 of which are in Tampa.

"Our company is better served not being in the fulfillment business, and we will see significant savings as a result of this change," Meredith said in a statement.

The company is shifting its customer service needs to its current provider, CDS Global. The transition — as well as the layoffs — will take place over the next year. As of Friday, there was not a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice filed with the state to indicate a mass layoff.

Employees will receive severance based on Time Inc.’s severance plan, but Meredith refused to disclose specific details. Employees will also get prorated bonuses.

Time Customer Service was one of the companies the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. helped recruit to the area in 1987.

"We are thrilled to have had them in our community for over 30 years," Michelle Bauer, chief marketing officer for the EDC, said. "If the company calls upon us to help connect their people to other resources in the community, if there’s anything we can do to help them find new positions, we’d be happy to do that."

Meredith bought Time in November 2017 for about $1.8 billion, with $650 million of that coming from Koch Industries, a private equity firm run by billionaires Charles and David Koch.

Shares for Meredith closed at $54.75 Friday, up from $53.65 Thursday.

Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] and Jonathan Capriel at [email protected] Follow @malenacarollo and @jonathancapriel.