In one of the most peculiar acquisition of this year, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff are buying the largest magazine company in the world, Time Magazine, for $190 million from the magazine’s parent firm, Meredith Corporation, which acquired Time last year for whopping $2.8 billion.
The acquisition is peculiar and interesting in the sense that while the buyer, Salesforce CEO Benioff, founded his company in 1999, Time Inc is a media corporation founded nearly a century back, in 1922. It was in November last year when Meredith Corporation announced that it would acquire Time Inc. for $2.8 billion. The acquisition was completed on January 31, 2018 and within a year the magazine has again got a new buyer.
“The Benioffs are purchasing TIME personally and the transaction is unrelated to Salesforce.com, where Mr. Benioff is Chairman, co-CEO and founder,” told Edward Felsenthal, editor in chief of Time magazine, in his blog post at Medium.
Edward further said, “One of the first challenges Marc and Lynne gave us is to think big, really big. Beyond the five-year plan, what will TIME look like in 2040? What will it mean to people decades from now?”
“It will have no connection to Salesforce, the software company Marc founded in 1999,” Felsenthal said in media reports. “While they will not be operators of the business, we are extremely fortunate to have Marc and Lynne’s guidance and mentorship as we set out to build a new company.”
Post acquisition, Salesforce people will not be involved in Time magazine’s operations or journalistic decisions, “which will continue to be led by TIME’s current executive leadership team,” said the statement from the magazine.
This is not the first time that a tech CEO is buying a prestigious print publication. In 2013, Amazon founder & CEO Jeff Bezos had purchased The Washington Post for $250 million. The Post purchase was separate from Bezos’s role as CEO as Amazon. Now, Benioff is promising a similar arrangement with Time.
Benioff said in an email to CNN, “Lynne and I will take on no operational responsibility for Time, and look only to be the stewards of this historic and iconic brand.”
Notably, the magazine’s parent firm Meredith Corporation has two divisions – National Media and Local Media. As of 2016, the company employed 12,600 people and had US$1.6 billion in revenues.