Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce, and his wife Lynne will acquire Time Magazine in a personal capacity for $190 million in cash from Meredith. That means the deal will not, in any way, involve Salesforce, where Mr. Benioff is the chairman and co-chief executive officer. Additionally, the Benioffs won't be expected to take part in the daily operations or journalistic decisions of the magazine.
Time Magazine was acquired by Meredith as part of its $2.8 billion purchase of Time Inc., a transaction that closed earlier this year. Today, Meredith has announced the Benioffs' acquisition of the Time media brand, with President and CEO Tom Harty stating:
For over 90 years, Time has been at the forefront of the most significant events and impactful stories that shape our global conversation. We know Time will continue to succeed and is in good hands with the Benioffs. We thank the Time team for its ongoing hard work and passionate commitment.
Meredith said it will use proceeds from the deal to pay its debts, with the goal of reducing its financial obligations by $1 billion during fiscal 2019. As part of the transaction, Meredith will perform short-term business continuity services for the Benioffs as well as consumer marketing, subscription fulfillment, paper purchasing, and printing services.
The Benioffs are not the only American billionaires investing in major publications in the U.S. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and now the world's richest person, acquired The Washington Post in 2013.