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Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Meredith Corp. has agreed to sell its local media group for $2.7 billion in cash to Gray Television, opting to focus on its portfolio of national brands like People, Better Homes & Gardens, and Allrecipes.

Why it matters: Moving forward, Meredith will focus its business on two reporting segments: magazines and digital.

Details: Meredith's National Media Group will be spun out to shareholders as a standalone publicly traded company.

  • The post-close company will retain the Meredith Corporation name and will continue trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker MDP.
  • It will remain headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and will continue to be led by Meredith's existing senior executive team, including chairman and CEO Tom Harty.
  • The brands that will live within that company will continue to serve mostly U.S. women via topic categories like celebrity and entertainment news, house and home, food, style, health, fitness, and parenting.

The goal of the deal is for Meredith to streamline its focus around its digital business and reduce its debt.

  • Meredith's digital business now accounts for more than half of the company’s total expected advertising revenues.
  • A heightened focus on digital will allow Meredith to invest more in building direct-to-consumer products, as well as its privacy-centric, first-party data solutions for advertisers to reach its customers in a more efficient way.

Be smart: The digital era has been brutal for magazine giants that have long depended on lucrative print advertising revenues for the bulk of their sales.

  • Meredith has been able to escape some of that strain by divesting key assets. The pandemic has also given a boost to some of Meredith's brands, which have been focused on stay-at-home activities.
  • The company says its licensing and performance marketing revenues, which anchor its digital consumer activities, are "additional key growth drivers."

The big picture: It's the latest local TV consolidation deal to occur in the past few years in light of relaxed regulations around cross-media ownership rules.

Go deeper

Southwest heat wave intensifies, breaks records and worsens drought

A temperature "misery index" shows peak levels across the Southwest (orange and yellow), and the upper air flow shows how the jet stream is being pushed north, away from the heat dome parked over the Four Corners region. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

Updated 34 mins ago - World

Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," but blames U.S. for tensions

Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference following the meetings, according to a translator.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Live updates: Putin concludes press conference, Biden up next

President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for less than four hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: At a press conference following the conclusion of the summit, Putin called the talks "very constructive' and announced that the U.S. and Russia's respective ambassadors would return to their posts.