Meredith Seals $2.8 Billion Time Inc. Deal With Koch Brothers Backing

Time Inc - H Getty 2017
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Charles and David Koch, the conservative billionaires backing Meredith's purchase of the company, will have no editorial control.

Time Inc., one of the most influential magazine publishers in U.S. history, will be sold to Iowa-based Meredith Corporation for $2.8 billion, the companies announced Sunday.

Meredith, which publishes a wide array of consumer magazines, will pay $18.50 per share of the publicly traded Time Inc., a substantial premium.

While Time Inc.'s sale announcement made no mention of Charles and David Koch, the conservative billionaires who are backing Meredith's purchase of the company, Meredith's announcement mentioned that $650 million in preferred equity commitment comes from Koch Equity Development. The New York Times first reported the Koch brothers' backing of Meredith, which came as a major surprise to both the media industry at large and Time Inc. employees.

The announcement said that the Koch brothers would have "no influence on Meredith’s editorial or managerial operations."

The all-cash transaction will close in the first quarter of 2018, according to the announcement.

Time Inc. employees were informed of the sale in a memo Sunday night, and the company will hold a town hall meeting Monday.

The company's decision to sell represents an about-face. In late April, company brass called off a sale effort and instead pledged to continue with the company's strategic turnaround plan, which was seen by company-watchers as an admission that Time Inc. couldn't find a buyer that was willing to meet its price.

“I am proud of our accomplishments and thank the talented teams across the company for their extraordinary work, relentless commitment and passion," Time Inc. CEO Rich Battista said in a statement. "Together, we moved quickly and successfully to launch, grow and advance our multi-platform offerings during unprecedented times in the media sector."