The Koch brothers now have a major stake in the magazine industry. Meredith Corporation is buying Time Inc. in a $2.8 billion deal supported by a $650 million equity injection from the billionaire brothers, the BBC reports. The company, subject of two previous Meredith acquisition attempts, publishes titles including People, Sports Illustrated, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as Time. Meredith publishes titles including Better Homes & Gardens and also owns numerous local TV stations, meaning it hasn't been hit as hard as Time by the steep decline in print advertising revenues in recent years. The two companies say the deal, unanimously approved by both boards of directors, will close early next year, the AP reports.
Meredith CEO Stephen Lacy calls the joining of the two magazine giants "a transformative and financially compelling growth opportunity." Time CEO Rich Battista is expected to depart after the deal closes. Meredith says the investment vehicle owned by Charles and David Koch, prominent supporters of conservative causes, will not have a seat on the board and they will not influence editorial decisions. Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy, however, tells the Guardian that she believes the brothers want to create their own "media megaphone" to convince the public that they don't need to worry about climate change and they should "forget about regulating the fossil fuel industry." (Time and President Trump are in a dispute over his Person of the Year claims.)