Time, the pre-eminent weekly newsmagazine of the 20th century, has a new owner: Marc Benioff, the billionaire co-founder of the San Francisco software company Salesforce.
Time’s current owner, the Iowa-based Meredith Corporation, announced that it had entered into what it described in a news release as “a definitive agreement” to sell the storied publication to Mr. Benioff and his wife, Lynne, for $190 million in cash.
In its statement, Meredith said that the Benioffs would be hands-off owners and made it clear that the deal had nothing to do with Salesforce.
“The Benioffs are purchasing Time personally and the transaction is unrelated to Salesforce.com, where Mr. Benioff is chairman, co-C.E.O. and founder,” Meredith said in its release. “Mr. and Mrs. Benioff will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions, which will continue to be led by Time’s current executive leadership team.”
Mr. Benioff, 53, whose net worth has been estimated at more than $6 billion by Forbes, confirmed the agreement in a Twitter post on Sunday, saying he and his wife were “honored to be stewards of this iconic brand.”
“The power of Time has always been in its unique storytelling of the people & issues that affect us all & connect us all,” Mr. Benioff wrote. “A treasure trove of our history & culture.”
The Meredith Corporation, which specializes in home and lifestyle magazines like Better Homes & Gardens, had owned the flagship publication of the once-mighty Time Inc. media company for less than a year.
Still, the deal, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, was a long time coming. Meredith announced in March that it was seeking a buyer for Time, as well as other former Time Inc. titles: Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated.
“We know Time will continue to succeed and is in good hands with the Benioffs,” Tom Harty, the president and chief executive of Meredith, said in a statement on Sunday.
Edward Felsenthal, Time’s editor in chief, said he was “ very excited to begin this next chapter in our history.”
“We can’t imagine better stewards for Time than Marc and Lynne Benioff,” he said.
Meredith agreed to purchase Time Inc. in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion last November, and the deal was made final on Jan. 31. The deal came to fruition with the help of an infusion of $650 million from the private equity arm of Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers known for using their wealth and political connections to advance conservative causes.