UPDATE: Time Inc. has announced its sale to the Meredith Corporation for $18.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at nearly $3 billion, coming in at an estimated $2.8 billion. Both company boards finalized the deal this evening.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.
One of the keys to the deal was the infusion of $650 million by David and Charles Koch’s Koch Equity Development into the Meredith Corporation. The brothers have long been activists in conservative causes, but never before had a media pulpit of this size. Instead, they used their support of nonprofit organizations, think tanks and university programs to advance their agendas.
The release announcing the deal indicated Koch Equity Development would not have a seat on Meredith’s board of directors. It added the brothers would “have no influence on Meredith’s editorial or managerial operations.” Instead, the Koch investment “underscores a strong belief in Meredith’s strength as a business operator, its strategies, and its ability to unlock significant value from the Time Inc. acquisition.”
Meredith previously tried to acquire Time Inc. in 2013, but allegedly balked at bundling Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and other major titles into the deal. It again kicked the tires earlier this year, but walked away when it reportedly could not obtain financing.
The marriage of Time Inc. and Meredith represents an odd coupling. The Des Moines, Iowa headquarters of Meredith is a long way from the glitzy world of most of the Time Inc. titles and culture. But Time Inc. has been in a spiral since being separated from Time Warner in 2014. Since that decoupling, the magazines have seen major slashes to staff and budgets. As with most legacy print media, the titles in its stable struggled to maintain revenue and relevancy in an increasingly online world.
EARLIER: The boards of Time Inc. and the Meredith Corporation are reportedly meeting this evening to conclude a deal that would sell Time’s magazine behemoth for $19 to $20 per share.
Time Inc. publishes Time magazine, Sports Illustrated and People magazine. Meredith publishes Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens. As part of the transaction, Meredith has reportedly arranged a $600 million cash infusion from a private equity firm, Koch Equity Development, run by Charles and David Koch.
The deal could be announced as early as Monday. The added titles could allow Meredith to spin-off its broadcasting arm into a standalone company. Meredith made an unsuccessful bid for Time Inc. in 2013.
Some observers reportedly worried that the Koch brothers may use the new media platforms to promote their particular brand of conservatism. One of the key elements of the deal would be to take the publishers consumer data and marry it with the voter data collected by the Kochs in their company i360.
Neither company has publicly responded to the rumored sale.