Marc Benioff, the billionaire cofounder of Salesforce and his wife, Lynne Benioff, intend to purchase Time magazine from Meredith Corp. for $190 million. Meredith announced the sale on Sunday, which comes just eight months after Meredith completed its $2.8 billion purchase of magazine firm Time Inc., according to Forbes. The purchase is expected to be finalized within the upcoming thirty days and will make the Benioffs the new owners of one of America’s most iconic news magazines.
“The power of Time has always been in its unique storytelling of the people & issues that affect us all & connect us all,” Benioff tweeted. “A treasure trove of our history & culture.”
Meredith attempted to sell Time magazine as well as other fellow Time Inc. publications Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated. Benioff will not run Time magazine as a day-to-day role, and according to Meredith’s press release, the current executive leadership will remain intact. Salesforce will also continue to operate separately from the magazine.
Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal in a statement: “On behalf of the entire Time team, we are very excited to begin this next chapter in our history.” He continues, “We can’t imagine better stewards for TIME than Marc and Lynne Benioff. The team is inspired by their commitment to high-quality journalism and by their confidence in the work we have done to transform and expand the brand in new directions.”
According to Forbes’ estimate, the tech founder is worth $6.7 billion and is the latest to purchase a struggling legacy publication. Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, purchased the Washington Post back in 2013 for $250 million, which at the time was experiencing horrible declining advertising revenue and readership. Pharma billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong purchased the Los Angeles Times earlier this year for $500 million, which too, experienced a few traumatic years financially.
Times took a hit as well, by the changing media environment, in which newsstand sales and advertising revenue declined in both print and online. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the magazine was focused to cut its circulation by one third. Its former parent company Time Inc., also experienced a major hit after revenue continued to drop year-after-year of 8 percent. Time Inc. ultimately laid off 300 staffers due to the decline. Although there was much decline, Time witnessed its digital audience exceed over 30 million monthly visitors, according to comScore, which is up more than 15 percent over the last three years.
“For over 90 years, Time has been at the forefront of the most significant events and impactful stories that shape our global conversation,” Tom Harty, Meredith’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We know Time will continue to succeed and is in good hands with the Benioffs.”