Meredith Corp., the publisher of People, InStyle and Entertainment Weekly, is being acquired by Barry Diller’s Dotdash in a deal thought to be worth $2.7 billion.
The combined company will be called Dotdash Meredith and led by Dotdash chief executive officer Neil Vogel. It is expected to be one of the largest publishers in America, with the transaction set to close by the end of the year.
“The Meredith family is extremely proud of everything the company has achieved over the past 120 years, which is a direct reflection of our dedicated employees,” said Mell Meredith Frazier, vice chairman of the Meredith board. “Our creative and devoted employees have guided our beloved brands through a fast-changing media landscape — enriching the lives of generations of Americans. The Meredith Foundation will continue to be an active member in the flourishing Des Moines community, as will Dotdash Meredith.”
Joey Levin, CEO of IAC, the holding company of Dotdash, added: “We’ve often found opportunities in the digital transformations of businesses and industries: travel, ticketing, dating, home services and now publishing. Meredith is already seeing record digital growth and we think Dotdash can help accelerate that growth. We admire the consumer’s trust in Meredith’s more than 40 brands when it comes to essential life decisions, and we believe true and reliable content created by talented writers, editors and photographers, backed by real brands, has a very bright future across all platforms. Combined with Dotdash’s ability to deliver readers fresh, unbiased content on any topic, together we can offer uniquely engaged audiences to advertisers and partners — based not on a reliance on private information or personal history but on relevancy to the content they’re consuming and a deep understanding of their needs. No one will do this better than Dotdash Meredith.”
The combined company expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization from digital assets to exceed $450 million in 2023.
In May, Meredith revealed it was offloading its local media group of 17 television stations to broadcaster Gray Television for $2.7 billion. That included CBS affiliates in Atlanta, St. Louis and Phoenix and Fox affiliates in Las Vegas and Portland, Ore. A separation had been rumored for some time as Meredith struggled with the debt it took on to finance its $2.8 billion acquisition of Time Inc. in 2017, only to be exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.