On Sunday night, magazine publisher Meredith Corp. reached a deal to buy Time Inc. for $18.50 a share, or nearly $3 billion, combining under one company Time's Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune, and Time with Meredith's Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, among other titles. The boards of both companies approved the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018. Meredith, based in Des Moines, made a bid for Time Inc. in 2013 and expressed interest again earlier this year, but it was unable to raise the funds for the all-cash deal until the private equity firm of conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch stepped in with $650 million in financing.
Both companies date back to the early 1900s. Edwin Thomas Meredith entered the magazine business in 1902, with Successful Farming; Henry R. Luce and Briton Hadden launched Time Inc. in 1922, after working together at a Yale newspaper. Meredith said that Koch Equity Development will have no seat on the board and would "have no influence on Meredith's editorial or managerial operations," and some Koch allies say this is purely a financial investment, The New York Times notes, "but others familiar with the Kochs' thinking speculated that they could nonetheless use the media properties — which reach millions of online and print readers — to promote their brand of conservatism." Peter Weber