|TIME magazine on sale in New York on Nov. 16. / AP-Yonhap|
By Rha Hae-sung, Park Si-soo
Renowned American news company Times Inc, which publishes TIME Magazine, People, Fortune and Sports Illustrated, has been sold to another media company, Meredith, for $2.8 billion (3 trillion won), according to reports on Sunday (local time).
The deal highlights the troubled state of U.S. print media amid the rapid print-to-digital transition. It also has raised questions about the politics of the news industry in the Donald Trump era because Meredith got the deal done with help from the billionaire Koch brothers, known for supporting Trump and conservative policies, and largely antagonistic to the mainstream media.
Iowa-based Meredith owns 17 TV stations that reach 12 million U.S. households. Its women- and lifestyle-focused magazines and websites include Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle and Allrecipes.
The $650 million from the Koch Equity Development (KED) was described as a "passive" investment, according to Meredith, which said the company would not have a board seat or any "influence on Meredith's editorial or managerial operations."
But there is speculation that Koch would influence editorial policy of what are known as left-wing outlets.
AP reported that a Koch representative did not answer questions about why the company was interested in media.
The combination of two publishing giants is expected to create a 135 million readership with paid circulation of nearly 60 million.
Their digital media business is also likely to be bolstered with an expected 170 million unique visitors in the U.S and 10 billion annual video views, according to Meredith Corp.