Magazine company Meredith Corporation has announced that it is finally buying the Time Inc publishing group (it has tried twice before) in a “transformative” $1.8 billion (€1.5bn) deal.
Meredith, which owns a portfolio including Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, and Shape, will fund the deal with the help of the right-wing, billionaire Koch brothers, who have contributed $650 million of preferred equity. Charles and David Koch head a $115 billion energy and industrial group, Koch Industries, and are well-known supporters of libertarian causes. But Meredith says that Koch Equity Development, the brothers’ investment vehicle providing the funding, will not have a seat on the board of the newly merged group and will not influence editorial decisions.
The deal was unanimously approved by both boards. Meredith held unsuccessful talks to buy Time earlier this year and in 2013. It will give news, business and sports brands to add to the Iowa-based publisher’s lifestyle titles. Analysts have said that bulking up on publishing assets could give Meredith the scale required to spin off its broadcasting arm into a standalone company. Time has several TV projects including Sports Illustrated TV.
When combined, the Meredith and Time brands will have a readership of 135 million people and paid circulation of nearly 60 million. The deal also will expand Meredith’s reach with millennials, creating a digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the US and more than 10bn annual video views.
Combined, the companies posted $4.8 billion in revenue last year.