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Meredith Corp. buys Time Inc. for $2.8 billion with Koch backing


Meredith Corp., the Iowa-based media company, will purchase Time Inc. for $18.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion, according to a statement. Roughly one quarter of the deal value ($650 million) is being financed by Koch Equity Development (KED), the investment arm of Koch Industries, run by Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch.Why it matters: Backing from the Koch brothers will likely prompt questions about the editorial independence of Time Inc.'s news properties, like Time Magazine and Fortune. In a statement, Meredith Corporation said KED will not have a seat on the Meredith Board and will have "no influence on Meredith's editorial or managerial operations."

Aside from any potential political incentives, a merger also helps Meredith expand its lifestyle content footprint. (Meredith owns several lifestyle magazines, like Better Homes and Gardens and Country Life, while Time Inc. owns People and Sports Illustrated.)The buildup: Time Inc. rejected a Meredith Inc. bid earlier this year — its second major takeover rejection since last November, when it turned down at $1.8 billion bid from an investor group that included billionaire Edgar Bronfman Jr. Like many media companies with large print portfolios, Time has been focused on ways to sell some of those properties and to focus on digital opportunities. Its competitors are also pursuing similar lifestyle mergers. Just last month, Hearst acquired lifestyle magazine company Rodale Inc.Go deeper: This move is another example an of how rapid consolidation in the media sector has created more opportunities for partisan influencers to expand their reach.

Steve LeVine 6 hours ago
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Self-driving lab head urges freeze after "nightmare" fatality

Uber self-driving car in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen / Getty

Carmakers and technology companies should freeze their race to field autonomous vehicles because "clearly the technology is not where it needs to be," said Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's leading self-driving laboratory.

What he said: Speaking a few hours after a self-driven vehicle ran over and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, Rajkumar said, "This isn't like a bug with your phone. People can get killed. Companies need to take a deep breath. The technology is not there yet. We need to keep people in the loop."

Khorri Atkinson 5 hours ago
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Here's where the big redistricting court fights stand

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court last October during a hearing on a Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case. Photo: Olivier Douliery / Getty Images

Redistricting battles in key states are playing out in the U.S. Supreme Court and various federal courts that involve partisan and racial gerrymandering, stemming from voting maps drawn after the 2010 census.

Why it matters: Both Democrats and Republicans have legally designed maps to gain electoral advantages and capture majorities. But these cases could alter how lines are redrawn, and implement a concrete legal standard to determine when redistricting is infected with political bias and discriminate against voters of color.