Meredith Corporation is buying Time Inc for $2.8bn (£2.1bn)—and it has some controversial financial backers: the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.
Meredith, which already publishes magazines including Parents, Shape and Better Homes & Gardens, said Charles and David Koch helped fund the deal to acquire Time Inc., the mag’s publisher, with $650 million in preferred equity. Time Inc. includes a variety of major magazine titles including Time, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, People, Fortune, and many others.
The deal was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies.
“Time Inc.’s Board of Directors has unanimously determined that this all-cash transaction, and the immediate, certain value it provides, is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders,” John Fahey, chairman of the board, said in a statement.
The Koch brothers are Republican donors and have funded rightwing libertarian causes throughout the years. Their investment into the Time bid caused concerns that they would try to wield influence over Time‘s editorial agenda.
But Meredith specified that Koch Equity Development (KED), the Koch brothers’ private equity arm, will not have a seat on the new group’s board and will have no influence on Meredith’s editorial or managerial operations.
“KED’s non-controlling, preferred equity investment underscores a strong belief in Meredith’s strength as a business operator, its strategies, and its ability to unlock significant value from the Time Inc. acquisition,” Meredith said in a statement.
That hasn’t done much to ally fears that the magazines will begin to cater to conservative viewpoints.
Great. The Koch brothers are about to be co-owners of TIME, Inc. How long til TIME, People and Sports Illustrated are pushing stories about how much better life would be if we canceled Social Security and Medicare?
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) November 27, 2017
With the Koch brothers buying Time Magazine the magazine will begin including weekly centerfolds of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Scott Walker.
— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) November 27, 2017
Brands belonging to Meredith and Time Inc. will have a combined readership of 135 million and paid circulation of nearly 60 million, Meredith reported.
From a digital perspective, Meredith will be one of the top 10 digital media companies in the U.S. with 170 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S., over 10 billion annual video views, and nearly $700 million in digital advertising revenue.
Meredith President Tom Harty said: “When you combine our strong local television business – which has grown operating profit 15 percent annually over the last five years – with the trusted, premium multiplatform content creation of Meredith and Time Inc., it creates a powerful media company serving consumers and advertisers alike.”