Meredith Is Putting a Number of Newly Acquired Titles Up for Sale, Including Sports Illustrated

Where will the legendary sports title go?

Meredith is selling off numerous news and sports titles. - Credit by Sports Illustrated
Headshot of A.J. Katz

Meredith Corp. CEO Tom Harty had some big news to share with Time Inc. staffers during a town hall yesterday in New York: Legendary (and newly acquired) titles Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Money and Time will be sold.

The Iowa-based Meredith owns monthly magazines that target women, including Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart Living. Time Inc., on the other hand, counted news and sports titles like Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Money and Time among the titles in its portfolio.

Those don’t exactly fit with the existing Meredith portfolio, so they’re going to be sold.

“They have different target audiences and advertising bases, and we believe each brand is better suited for success with a new owner,” Harty noted in a separate statement.

The Meredith chief declined to name names of interested parties, but he did make clear that there is significant interest, even though titles like Sports Illustrated have seen a decline in ad revenue and circulation. For instance, SI has gone from publishing weekly to twice per month.

“Interest in all four of the titles will attract wealthy individuals, but SI and Money are also likely to attract strategic buyers,” said Reed Phillips, co-founder and managing partner of M&A and investment banking firm Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips. “For SI, that might include ESPN, Turner or someone else in sports. I’d add Wasserman Media to the list and other sports marketing companies.”

Adweek reached out to gauge Wasserman Media’s interest in acquiring SI, but has yet to hear back.

Harty did disclose that neither Time nor Fortune will be sold to American Media, Inc., CEO David Pecker, owner of the National Enquirer and a staunch ally of President Donald Trump. He told the New York Times that the politically-active Koch Brothers, who provided Meredith Corp. with $650 million in order to finance the deal, “have expressed no interest” in purchasing the magazines either. Harty did say he expected to announce deals by the end of June.

Meredith has reportedly scheduled more employee meetings in New York for March 28 and another in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 11, to talk about the future of the company’s sales business.

@ajkatztv A.J. Katz is the senior editor of Adweek's TVNewser.