Meredith Corporation has sold its iconic Time magazine to Salesforce Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff at a price tag of $190 million. The Time magazine is globally recognised for its annual ‘Person of the year’ selection and the list of ‘100 most influential people’ in the world.
The Benioffs are the latest entrant to the list of tech billionaires who are buying traditional media platforms. In 2013, Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, bought the Washington Post. In 2017, Laurene Powell Jobs, the wife of the Apple Founder Steve Jobs, acquired a majority stake in the Atlantic magazine. Billionaires own many of America’s influential magazines, local papers and online publications including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Many media observers believe that it is too steep a price for a publication that has seen its advertising revenue plummet, its print circulation steeply decline and profitability erode. Like many powerful legacy brands, the Time magazine has struggled to make a transition from a print-centric model to a digital-first publication. According to this report in The Wall Street Journal, the magazine garnered revenue of $173 million in 2017 and it’s operating profit stood at $33 million.
The Wall Street Journal quotes Marc Benioff as saying, “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.”
Meredith had also put up three other publications that it had acquired from Time Inc up for sale —Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated.
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