The $3 billion Sunday evening sale of Time Inc., long the king of magazine companies, is stunning for not being stunning. It will now be a footnote, albeit an important one, to a digital revolution that has altered the basic business models of once omnipotent media companies.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that famous titles such as Time, Sports Illustrated and People will disappear, or that large cadres of journalists should be freshening up their resumes as pink slips are sent their way. It’s likely a bit more complicated — including the ultimate sale of those same famous publications by their new owner.
The publisher of the hallowed titles, and many more, announced its purchase by Meredith Corp., publisher of Better Homes & Gardens, among others, and itself long a major (if smaller) player in the now embattled magazine industry, for $18.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at nearly $3 billion. The New York Times had earlier reported the imminent nature of a deal that, as it repeated after the deal was formally announced, is financially assisted by the ideologically conservative Koch brothers.
It means that two very shrewd and efficient companies, Meredith and Hearst, will be the industry’s two prime players, said Samir Husni, head of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi and a longtime industry analyst.
Ken Doctor, a print industry analyst, said, “Meredith has always had surer instincts, if more prosaic ones. It gave up being a magazine company long ago and proclaimed itself the country’s best women’s
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