Magazine publisher Meredith agrees to be sold to Barry Diller’s IAC

Barry Diller’s IAC / InterActiveCorp.

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has struck a roughly $ 2.7 billion deal to buy magazine publisher Meredith Corp.

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, a bet on the online edition that will bring together brands such as People, Better Homes & Gardens and Investopedia.

As a result of the deal, Des Moines-based Meredith will be part of Dotdash, the digital publishing division of IAC, the companies said on Wednesday. The company will be called Dotdash Meredith and will be headed by Dotdash chief executive Neil Vogel, they said. The deal is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.

The $ 42.18 per share acquisition of Meredith, who previously agreed to sell her local television business to Gray Television Inc.,

would add a range of lifestyle publications like Real Simple, Allrecipes and InStyle to Dotdash’s existing portfolio, which includes Brides, Serious Eats and TripSavvy.

“They are perfectly aligned,” said Mr. Diller, president of IAC, of ​​the IAC and Meredith properties, in an interview. “One will help the other.”

The Wall Street Journal had reported that the companies were in advanced talks last month.

“Nowhere else will you find such a high-end portfolio of media assets under one roof,” Tom Harty, president and CEO of Meredith, said in a statement. “We are delighted to join forces to accelerate the digital future of Meredith.

The deal will also increase IAC’s portfolio of websites, which recently shrunk after the company decided to part ways with online dating giant Match Group. Inc.

and Vimeo video hosting and sharing platform Inc.

In a call announcing the Meredith acquisition on Wednesday night, IAC CEO Joey Levin said the deal, while important, still leaves IAC with plenty of money for other potential deals.

Acquiring online businesses and their subsequent creation has long been a part of New York-based IAC’s playbook. The company, which started out as a hybrid media / e-retail business that included the Home Shopping Network, in the early 2000s became a voracious buyer of internet companies, many of which eventually split up and are now publicly traded. Beyond Match and Vimeo, companies formerly under the IAC umbrella include Expedia Group Inc.,

Ticketmaster and LendingTree Inc.

Digital publisher Dotdash, reportedly home to the Meredith Properties, currently reaches around 100 million online consumers each month through 14 media brands across health, finance and lifestyle, the IAC said. The combined company, which is said to include more than 40 Meredith brands, would reach more than 175 million consumers online each month, the companies said.

“Meredith is the world’s largest magazine publishing company and has very strong roots in print,” Samir Husni, a leading magazine consultant, said in an interview. “Will IAC focus on the impression that was placed by the current Meredith team, or will they focus more on data and digital expansion? Meredith has a very good database; it will be best used with the digital power of the IAC.

Mr Vogel, during the conference call to discuss the proposed deal, said the impression would continue to be part of the mix going forward, investing in top performing stocks and focusing on profitability.

The decision to sell marks a sharp turnaround for Meredith, who just a few years ago bet on the future of the magazine industry by agreeing to buy Time Inc. for $ 1.85 billion.

Meredith went on to sell prominent Time Inc. titles such as flagship brand Time magazine, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated. He focused on exploiting the brands of other Time Inc. publications such as People, which he said had room to make more money. He’s also created several new magazines in recent years, including Magnolia Journal, a lifestyle publication launched in 2016 with home improvement celebrities Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Despite these measures, Meredith faced significant debt as newsstand and print advertising revenues faced serious challenges, a situation made worse by the pandemic.

Write to Maria Armental at [email protected] and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at [email protected]

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