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.

Go deeper

The coronavirus is Trump's slow-burn crisis

Photo: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

At 6:30 p.m. from the White House press room, President Trump will publicly make himself the face of America's response to the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: This is exactly the situation where a president needs the credibility to truthfully explain a tough situation to the public.

Obama demands South Carolina stations stop airing misleading anti-Biden ad

Photo: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Former President Obama's office is calling on South Carolina TV stations to stop running a misleading attack ad by a pro-Trump super PAC that uses Obama's voice out of context to make it appear as if he is criticizing Joe Biden and Democrats on race.

Why it matters: It's a rare intervention by Obama, whose former vice president is facing a critical primary in South Carolina on Saturday. Obama has said he has no plans to endorse in the Democratic field.

The megatrends that will shape the 21st century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An enormous amount of change has been crammed into the first two decades of the 21st century — but what’s coming next will break every speed record.

The big picture: The world is being buffeted by rapid yet uneven advances in technology that will revamp work and what it means to be human. At the same time, fundamental demographic changes will alter democracies and autocracies alike while the effects of climate change accumulate, physically redrawing our globe.