Concluding three often-turbulent years as an independent, publicly traded company, Time Inc. has agreed to sell itself to Meredith Corp. — publisher of Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, among others — in a cash transaction worth $2.8 billion, the two companies announced Sunday evening.
The board of directors at Des Moines-based Meredith — which takes on $3.55 billion in debt to finance the transaction — approved the deal after the company secured a $650 million investment from Koch Equity Development, a firm run by billionaire conservative donors Charles G. and David H. Koch.
The announcement ends several months of speculation about a potential Time Inc. sale, which seemingly cooled in April before ramping up again earlier this month thanks to the Koch brothers’ surprise entry, and follows a similar proposed merger between the companies that stalled in 2013; Time Inc. was ultimately spun off from parent Time Warner and became an independent company.
Like many mass-market magazine businesses, Time Inc. has struggled in recent years to make up for declines in print advertising revenues, its historical bread and butter, but many of its brands, which include Sports Illustrated and Time, among numerous others, retain considerably widespread recognition and gravity, as evidenced most recently by the President’s public disagreement with the latter over its annual “Person of the Year” franchise.
“I am proud of our accomplishments and thank the talented teams across the Company for their extraordinary work, relentless commitment, and passion,” said Rich Battista, who took over for Joe Ripp as president and CEO of Time Inc. last year, in a statement. “Together, we moved quickly and successfully to launch, grow, and advance our multi-platform offerings during unprecedented times in the media sector. Time Inc. now engages over 230 million consumers across digital and print every month through a portfolio of premium, iconic brands that are well positioned to continue to be powerful voices in media for many years to come.”
Following the completion of the merger, which is expected early next year, Battista will likely leave the company, according to Time Inc.