Salesforce founder purchases TIME magazine for US$190 million

Andrew Cummings
September 17, 2018

Meredith acquired Time in a deal valued at $2.8 billion as part of its purchase of Time Inc in January, shortly after which announced it was selling Time Inc's news and sports brands.

It is a transaction reminiscent of Mr Bezos's US$250 million acquisition of the Washington Post in 2013. Benioff, who's long sought to burnish his image as a civic leader and is well-known in his company's home city of San Francisco, may gain a higher level of national visibility in his new role of media baron.

Benioff was among the potential buyers rumored to be interested in Fortune, which along with Sports Illustrated and Money are still up for sale and Benioff is not buying them. Meredith expects to announce agreements for the remaining asset sales in the near future.

In another deal earlier this year, Tronc Inc sold the Los Angeles Times to billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong in a US$500 million transaction, opening a new chapter for the 136-year-old newspaper.

The sale is expected to close within 30 days and the Benioffs are buying the publication as individuals, according to the Wall Street Journal. At the time, it was said the move could set up a succession plan for Benioff as he moved to be co-CEO as a result.

Meredith has said that the Benioffs will not be directly involved with the title, and will have no say in its editorial decisions. Time has cut its circulation and struggled with declining advertising revenues. Time claims a combined audience of more than 100 million readers in print and online, including over 50 million digital visitors.

"Time has been at the forefront of the most significant events and impactful stories that shape our global conversation", Meredith CEO Tom Harty said.

The Benioffs' purchase of Time will be kept separate from Salesforce, and the couple plans to take a hands-off approach to managing the magazine.

"We can't imagine better stewards for TIME than Marc and Lynne Benioff".

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