Business News Deals Media

NME publisher bought in $2.8 billion deal

By | Published on Monday 27 November 2017

Time Inc

NME and Uncut owner Time Inc is set to be acquired by rival American media firm the Meredith Corporation via a deal agreed by the two companies’ boards last night.

Time Inc was a division of the Time Warner entertainment conglom for nearly 25 years, before being spun off as a standalone entity in 2014. Like most magazine publishers, the company has struggled as a result of the big shift from print to digital, with its titles talking to ever bigger audiences online, but finding it tricky to turn that online audience into decent revenue through either subscriptions or advertising.

There has been talk for a while now of Time Inc being bought by either another media group or private equity. The Meredith acquisition is, in some ways, a combination of the two, in that it is being part funded by a $650 million cash injection from the private equity wing of Koch Industries, which is owned by the sometimes controversial Koch brothers.

Although said Koch brothers are famous for their political manoeuvrings, mainly by funding American political groups and campaigns, Meredith insists that it will be a hands off investor in the media business, not even taking a seat on the board. Time Inc, unlike Meredith, is most famous, of course, for its current affairs and business titles.

The merger of Meredith and Time Inc, which it is hoped can be finalised in the first quarter of 2018, will inevitably result in some probably not insignificant downsizing, such economies of scale being the main thing that makes the deal attractive, given how challenging magazine publishing is at the moment.

That is likely to hit hardest in the US where the two companies both have significant operations, while it’s Time Inc’s UK division, of course, that publishes titles like NME and Uncut. Certainly Meredith Corporation’s main focus is currently Stateside.

Confirming the $2.8 billion deal, Meredith Corporation CEO Stephen M Lacy said: “We are creating a premiere media company serving nearly 200 million American consumers across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile and social platforms positioned for growth. We are adding the rich content-creation capabilities of some of the media industry’s strongest national brands to a powerful local television business that is generating record earnings, offering advertisers and marketers unparalleled reach to American adults”.

He went on: “We are also creating a powerful digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the US and over ten billion annual video views, enhancing Meredith’s leadership position in reaching millennials”.