Time Inc. agrees to be sold to rival publisher Meredith

The Meredith Corporation is said to be in talks to buy Time Inc, with the Koch Brothers backing the deal. Veuer's Sam Berman has the full story.

The publisher of Time, People and Sports Illustrated agreed Sunday to be sold to another big magazine publisher, Meredith.

Publisher Meredith, which includes Better Homes & Gardens and Shape among its titles, said it will buy Time Inc., once one of the nation's most influential publishing powerhouses after its founding in 1922.

The deal is valued at $1.84 billion based on the offering price and number of shares of Time outstanding on Sept. 30. Meredith said it values the deal at $2.8 billion.

It said $650 million in equity came from the Koch Equity Development, but Meredith said that the Koch brothers, Charles and David, known for their support of conservative causes, won't have a seat on the board of the combined company and won't take part in editorial decisions.

"We are creating a premier media company serving nearly 200 million American consumers across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile and social platforms positioned for growth," Meredith CEO Stephen Lacy in a statement.

If the deal goes through, it would finally mark success for Meredith in its third run at acquiring Time.

After indicating late last year that it was willing to entertain offers, Time shut down the process in April, saying it planned to continue as an independent company. At the time, Meredith was considered a frontrunner in the bidding.

"We think there's tremendous untapped potential," Time CEO Rich Battista told The New York Times about why the company was turning away potential suitors. Like other media companies, Time is focusing on moving from a print focus to a multimedia approach.

Time has been reeling under the same pressures facing the rest of the magazine industry. Advertising revenue and circulation have been falling as readers move to Internet content.

Meredith said it will pay $18.50 a share for Time. On Friday, Time closed at $16.90 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It has traded between $9.90 and $20.40 a share over the past 52 weeks.

Though Time was reported in October to be considering cost-cutting moves, including reducing publication schedules for some of its titles, it still has clout.

President Trump tweeted last week he wasn't interested in being named Time magazine's Person of the Year for the second straight year. "Thanks anyway!" he wrote on Twitter. Time magazine responded on its own account that Trump didn't understand the selection process and several comics offered their own mocking tweets as well. 

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