Meredith Corp. said Sunday it has reached a “definitive agreement” to sell Time magazine to Salesforce founder and tech billionaire Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff for $190 million.
The deal, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes almost eight months after Meredith finalized its purchase of Time Inc.
In a press release, the Iowa-based publisher of magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, People and InStyle said the sale is expected to close within 30 days.
Meredith said the agreement is unrelated to Salesforce.com, the cloud computing company founded in 1999 by Benioff where he also serves as chairman and co-CEO. Marc and Lynne Benioff “will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions,” Meredith added.
The media conglomerate said it plans to use the money from the sale to pay down debt, with the goal of cutting its debt by $1 billion during the upcoming fiscal year. Last month, Meredith reported a net debt of $2.7 billion as of June 30.
As previously announced, Meredith is also working to sell the Time Inc. publications — Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, “to focus on brands serving its core audience of American women.” The company expects to announce agreements for these sales “in the near future.”
Benioff told WSJ he and his wife are passionate about the purchase. “We’re investing in a company with tremendous impact on the world, one that is also an incredibly strong business,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for when we invest as a family.” The newspaper added:
The Benioffs are optimistic about Time’s large audience and growing video business. “The power of Time is its unique story telling of the people and issues that affect us all and connect us all,” said Mrs. Benioff.
With the Time acquisition, the Benioffs also will inherit a business facing declines in print readership and advertising as the media landscape continues its shift to digital.