Coverage: Saleforce founders are buying Time magazine for $190 million
Nearly eight months after Meredith Corp. completed its purchase of Time Inc., the publisher has agreed to sell Time magazine for $190 million to Marc Benioff, co-founder of Salesforce.com, and his wife Lynne Benioff.
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg of The Wall Street Journal had the news:
The proposed sale is expected to close within 30 days. The Benioffs are buying Time as individuals; the agreement is unrelated to Salesforce.com, where Marc Benioff also serves as chairman and co-chief executive.
In an interview, Marc Benioff said, “We’re investing in a company with tremendous impact on the world, one that is also an incredibly strong business. That’s what we’re looking for when we invest as a family.” The Benioffs are optimistic about Time’s large audience and growing video business. “The power of Time is its unique story telling of the people and issues that affect us all and connect us all,” said Lynne Benioff.
Roland Li of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Benioffs will not be involved in editorial decisions:
Marc Benioff co-founded Salesforce, now San Francisco’s largest private employer, in 1999. The company isn’t involved in the purchase. The Benioffs said they wouldn’t be involved in editorial decisions.
The Benioffs are the latest tech moguls to invest in media. Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013. Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, bought a majority stake in the Atlantic magazine last year. Chris Hughes, an early Facebook executive, bought the New Republic in 2012 and sold it four years later.
“We are honored to be the caretakers of one of the world’s most important media companies and iconic brands,” said the Benioffs in a statement. “Time has always been a trusted reflection of the state of the world, and reminds us that business is one of the greatest platforms for change.”
Sara Jerde of Adweek reported that Fortune and Money magazines are still for sale:
Meredith put Time up for sale, along with Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated shortly after its acquisition of Time Inc. was finalized in January. The new owners of those other titles are expected to be announced shortly, according to the news release.
“We are honored to be the caretakers of one of the world’s most important media companies and iconic brands,” the Benioffs said in a statement provided in the news release. “TIME has always been a trusted reflection of the state of the world, and reminds us that business is one of the greatest platforms for change.”
As part of a multiyear agreement, Meredith will continue to offer services such as consumer marketing, subscription fulfillment as well as paper purchasing and printing. The title will also still be included in large corporate advertising purchases.
Meredith intends to use proceeds from the sale to pay down debt, which it plans to decrease by $1 billion during fiscal 2019.