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.
Meredith Corporation, which itself had just bought Time’s parent company Time Inc. early this year, said the Benioffs are buying Time as individuals, with no connection to Salesforce or Marc Benioff’s role as an executive and its co-founder. Meredith said it is selling the flagship publication for $190 million in cash in what it said is a “definitive agreement.”
According to the Meredith statement, the Benioffs have no plans to take a day-to-day role at Time, nor are they buying the three other titles Meredith has put up for sale: Fortune, Money, and Sports Illustrated.
“We can’t imagine better stewards for Time than Marc and Lynne Benioff,” said Edward Felsenthal, Time’s editor-in-chief, in the statement. “The team is inspired by their commitment to high-quality journalism and by their confidence in the work we have done to transform and expand the brand in new directions.”
“We are honored to be the caretakers of one of the world’s most important media companies and iconic brands,” said the Benioffs. “Time has always been a trusted reflection of the state of the world, and reminds us that business is one of the greatest platforms for change.”
Meredith said Time reaches a combined audience of more than 100 million readers in print and online, with more than 50 million digital visitors and 40 million social followers each month.
“There’s one gift that the internet brings newspapers,” Bezos said in an observation that could also apply to the Time newsmagazine and its pending new owners. “And that is free global distribution.”