Meredith Corp is in the process of buying Time Inc, in a nearly $3 billion cash deal. Time Inc. is the publisher of Time, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated. Meredith had previously held talks to buy Time but the talks fell through earlier this year and also in 2013.
The Koch brothers’ KED has offered Meredith Corp $650 million in equity to fund the acquisition. The brothers, who are two of the world’s richest men, are known for their advocacy of conservative policies and influence on some quarters of the Republican Party. The Meredith Corp has said the Kochs will not have a seat on the board and will have no influence on editorial or managerial operations.
Together, Meredith and Time will have a readership of 135 million people and a circulation of nearly 60 million. This deal will deliver popular news, business and sports brands to the Meredith’s publications. The deal will expand Meredith influence on millennials, creating a digital media business. Time is America’s largest magazine publisher, but it has struggled amid a massive corporate restructuring and a decline in print revenue. In June, it laid off 300 employees in a bid to grow its digital properties.
Adding Time Inc.’s services will give Meredith even more national scale, which will help it continue to appeal to advertisers on both the print and digital sides. But the company will also have to adjust to printing weekly titles. The deal is set to close in 2018. Once the deal is closed and there has been a smooth transition, Time’s president Rich Battista will exit the company. The Time editor in chief will be former digital editor, Edward Felsenthal.
The deal values Time at $2.8 billion. New York-based Time had struggled in an industry-wide decline in print media, as circulation shrinks and advertisers shift to digital platforms. As the industry continues to morph, several publishers have been consolidating including Rolling Stone, who has begun exploring the possibility of selling the music magazine.