Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to buy Time magazine for $190 million

Dwayne Harmon
September 17, 2018

Salesforce.com founder and now co-CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne have acquired the Time media brand, in a personal purchase worth $190 million.

If the proposed sale closes within the expected 30 days as announced late Sunday, the Benioffs would follow another tech industry titan, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, in purchasing a long-standing icon of traditional journalism.

In another deal earlier this year, Tronc Inc sold the Los Angeles Times to billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong in a US$500 million transaction, opening a new chapter for the 136-year-old newspaper. A Meredith spokeswoman said in media reports that deals for the other three titles are expected to be announced in the "near future".

Benioff has said that Time is a company that has a "tremendous impact on the world", and is also an "incredibly strong business". "Mr. and Mrs. Benioff will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions, which will continue to be led by Time's current executive leadership team".

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In 2017, Meredith sealed the deal on the purchase of Time with the backing of conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.

"The Benioffs will hold Time as a family investment", Time Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal told his staffers. "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. "We can't imagine better stewards for TIME than Marc and Lynne Benioff".

Meredith management has said that it's selling Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Time because they have different audiences and advertisers than most of its other magazines - a collection that focuses on entertainment, food, lifestyle, home, parenting, beauty and fashion. Meredith will also be able to include the TIME brand in large corporate advertising buys.

Meredith confirmed the sale plans back in March. Meredith expects to reduce its debt by US$1 billion during fiscal 2019.

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