WASHINGTON: Time Inc. is selling for $2.8 billion to media conglomerate Meredith Corp., backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, who are known for supporting conservative causes, in an unlikely ending to a saga over the future of CNN’s parent company.
Time, which also publishes its eponymous magazine, “Fortune” and “Sports Illustrated,” began looking for a buyer late last year before giving up several months later, while welcoming options.
Meredith had expressed interest in buying Time earlier this year, then walked away because it could not secure the necessary financing.
Time revealed in October an aggressive plan to boost revenue that included focusing less on magazine journalism and more on digital activities.
Time Inc. was spun off from media and entertainment giant Time Warner, which was seeking to shed its journalism assets.
Meredith’s offer is for $18.50 per Time share, up about 10 percent from the shares’ closing price of $16.90 on Friday. Share prices rose over the past week on speculation over the purchase.
The boards of both companies have approved the transaction, which is due to be finalized in the first semester of 2018, Meredith said in a statement.
The all-cash transaction includes about $1.7 billion for the company assets, plus more than $1 billion in debt.
Among the funds financing the purchase are $650 million from Koch Equity Development, a fund belonging to Charles and David Koch.
“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,” said Meredith Chairman and CEO Stephen Lacy.
The transaction will create a company with a combined revenues of $4.8 billion for 2016, including $2.7 billion of total advertising revenues with nearly $700 million of digital advertising revenues.
Meredith also anticipates savings ranging from $400 million to $500 million in the first full two years of operation, thanks to synergies.
Meredith’s portfolio includes 17 local television stations in 12 United States markets, as well as publications such as “Better Homes & Gardens,” “Allrecipes,” “Parents” and “Shape.”