Meredith moves to sell Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated titles — sources

Meredith Corp Chief Executive Stephen Lacy speaks during an interview with Reuters in New York on March 22, 2013. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)
Updated 16 March 2018
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Meredith moves to sell Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated titles — sources

NEW YORK: US media company Meredith Corp. has hired advisers to explore a sale of its Time, Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated magazines following its $1.84 billion acquisition of Time Inc. in January, people familiar with the matter said.
The move illustrates how Meredith sees some of Time Inc’s titles that attract primarily male readership as not playing to its core strength in women’s magazines, which include Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle and Martha Stewart Living.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based company has tapped investment banks Citigroup Inc. and Houlihan Lokey Inc. to find potential buyers for the magazines, the sources said this week. There is no certainty that a divestiture will occur, the sources added.
While it’s possible that media, telecommunications or technology companies could express an interest in the magazines, a sale to wealthy individuals, such as philanthropists or billionaires, is viewed by Meredith as more likely, according to one of the sources.
The sources asked not to be identified because details of the sale process are confidential. Citigroup declined to comment, while Houlihan Lokey did not immediately return a request for comment.
“We are in fact exploring a number of additional changes to the (magazine) portfolio, including divestitures of brands and businesses that might perform better under a different owner,” Meredith CEO Steven Lacy told investors at a Deutsche Bank conference earlier this month.
Time Inc. referred calls to Meredith, which declined to comment beyond reiterating that the company is reviewing its portfolio.
It was not clear how much the magazines could be worth. Fortune and Money generated more than $20 million in 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBIDTA), while Time generated more than $30 million in 12-month EBITDA, according to one of the people.
The potential divestitures underscore how Time Inc’s primary attraction for Meredith was building scale in digital advertising. With its roots in traditional publishing, Meredith has been in a fierce competitive online race against Internet giants such as Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc. for consumer eyeballs and advertising dollars.
The deal with Time Inc. expanded Meredith’s reach with Internet-savvy millennials, creating a digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the United States and more than 10 billion annual video views.
Meredith’s acquisition of Time Inc. was aided by a $650 million investment from the private equity arm of Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers known for championing conservative political causes.


Jailed Egyptian photographer wins UNESCO press freedom prize

Updated 23 April 2018
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Jailed Egyptian photographer wins UNESCO press freedom prize

PARIS: The United Nations’ cultural agency has ignored warnings from Egypt and awarded the World Press Freedom prize to an imprisoned Egyptian photographer.
A jury on Monday awarded the honor to Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, who has been in jail since he was arrested in Cairo in August 2013 for covering a demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry strongly warned UNESCO against the move Sunday, saying that Shawkan faces terror-related charges.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions says Shawkan’s arrest is arbitrary and his continued detention infringes his human rights.
Jury President Maria Ressa said the award, which recognizes the promotion of press freedom especially in the face of danger, “pays tribute to his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.”