Meredith to acquire Time

Meredith has agreed a deal to acquire fellow US media company Time, which has recently branched out into the OTT sports streaming market.

Meredith, which has interests in publishing and broadcasting, will acquire all outstanding Time shares for a total transaction value of approximately $2.8bn (€2.42bn), including the assumption of debt and net of cash acquired.

Time was spun out as separate firm by Time Warner in June 2014 and has been targeted by Meredith twice: in 2013 and earlier this year. The Reuters news agency said the deal has been backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

The Koch brothers' private equity arm, Koch Equity Development, has agreed to offer Meredith $650m in preferred equity to fund the Time deal, which is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018.

Earlier this month, Time joined forces with internet company Amazon to launch a new OTT streaming service under the banner of its flagship magazine, Sports Illustrated.

Time first unveiled plans for the service at May’s NewFronts presentation in New York, and launched Sports Illustrated TV through the Amazon Channels service in the US on November 16.

SI TV joined People TV as Time’s second streaming network and is being positioned differently from other sports platforms in that it will not carry live games or highlights. The network instead launched with a slate of 130 hours of on-demand programming, including original documentary series, weekly studio shows and acquired sports movies, documentaries and television shows.

Commenting on the Meredith deal, Rich Battista (pictured), president and chief executive of Time, said: “We moved quickly and successfully to launch, grow, and advance our multi-platform offerings during unprecedented times in the media sector. Time Inc. now engages over 230 million consumers across digital and print every month through a portfolio of premium, iconic brands that are well positioned to continue to be powerful voices in media for many years to come.”