The billionaire Koch brothers are backing an effort by Meredith Corp.to buy Time Inc., the New York Times reported Wednesday night. In addition to Time magazine, Time Inc. publishes People, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly and more than 100 other magazines.
A deal involving the Kochs would be likely to raise new questions about political influence on the news media, especially a hallowed journalistic outlet like Time magazine, founded in 1923 and originally run by Henry Luce. In 2012, the billionaires spent nearly $400 million.
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The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Meredith had submitted a bid of $17 to $20 per share, which would value Time at nearly $2 billion.
"The only logical acquirer is Meredith", Standard & Poor's Global Ratings credit analyst Minesh Patel told WWD at the time. Meredith was valued at $2.42 billion. Meredith is based in Des Moines, Iowa, and also owns TV stations. The brothers own Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kansas-based conglomerate with businesses from oil and ranching to farming and electrical component manufacturing.
A deal in 2013 between Time and Meredith collapsed.