May 28, 2019

Meredith sells Sports Illustrated

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Catalyst Public Relations

Meredith Inc. announced Monday night that it is selling Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brands Group, a brand development company, for $110 million.

Why it matters: The company has been offloading the news publications that it acquired as a part of its January 2018 Time Inc. purchase for more than $1.85 billion in debt in an effort to build an entertainment and lifestyle behemoth.

  • Sports Illustrated: Sold toAuthentic Brands Group for $110 million in May 2019.
  • Time: Sold to Salesforce founder Marc Benioff in September 2018 for $190 million.
  • Fortune: Sold to Thai Businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon for $150 million in November 2018.
  • Money: Meredith tried unsuccessfully to sell Money and opted to shutter the print edition of the magazine, leaving only a digital version, instead.

Between the lines: Meredith thinks investing in entertainment and lifestyle brands creates a closer path to profit than investing in news and sports brands, which can be harder to monetize in the internet era.

  • Executives at Meredith told the Wall Street Journal last week that they are banking on growing sources of revenue from its entertainment properties through things like content licensing, live events and online retailing.

The big picture: Magazine and print advertising is facing steep decline in the digital age, forcing many publications to shutter altogether or to reimagine their businesses for digital distribution.

What's next? Authentic Brands plans to use the Sports Illustrated name to create all sorts of branded businesses "ranging from Sports Illustrated medical clinics and sports-skills training classes to a gambling business," its CEO told Variety.

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