Koch Brothers to Buy Time Magazine?

Posted: Nov 26, 2017 4:40 PM

The New York Times reported Sunday afternoon that Time, Inc. is set to be purchased by Meredith Corporation in a deal backed by Charles G. Koch and his brother David H. Koch. 

"Under the terms of the proposed deal, which could be announced as early as Monday morning, Meredith would pay between $19 and $20 a share for Time Inc., the publisher of Time, Sports Illustrated and People, according to a person involved in the deal process. The boards of Time Inc. and Meredith were expected to meet on Sunday evening to finalize the deal, the person said, although the talks could still fall apart.

Meredith, which publishes popular monthly magazines like Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens, has arranged for a $600 million cash infusion from the Koch brothers through their private equity arm, Koch Equity Development."

The billionaire brothers have a bevy of libertarian and right leaning institutions and non-profits in America, but it is unclear how publications such as Time magazine would be used if the deal went through. 

"It was not clear how much influence, if any, the Kochs would wield over Meredith or Time Inc. should the deal be completed. The brothers have long sought to shape political discourse through their support of nonprofit organizations, universities and think tanks but have never owned their own media company."

Some sources speculate the deal is purely for monetary gain. 

"Some Koch allies have suggested that the brothers would not have any operational control over the company and that they viewed their investment purely as a moneymaking opportunity. But others familiar with the Kochs’ thinking speculate that they intend to use the media properties — which reach millions of online and print readers — to promote their brand of conservatism. The investment would also give the Kochs a way to combine the arsenal of voter information held by a data analytics company controlled by their network, i360, with the publishers’ consumer data."

Many liberals are afraid that the Kochs' potential purchase is far more nefarious. Charles Alexander, a former Time editor, wrote his desperation in The Nation last week. 

"As a former Time editor who spent 13 years editing the magazine’s coverage of environmental issues, I am in despair over reports that Time Inc. will soon sell itself to Meredith Corp. in a deal that includes a $600 million investment from Charles and David Koch, whose Koch Industries is a big player in the oil and gas business and whose philanthropy has long funded climate denial."

Whatever the case, this blockbuster deal would be sure to shake up the news industry.