Meredith Corporation announced an agreement to sell the Fortune media brand for $150m cash to Fortune Media Group Holdings, wholly owned by Chatchaval Jiaravanon. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in 2018.
Jiaravanon is affiliated with the Charoen Pokphand Group, an international conglomerate with businesses in telecom and media; agro-food; retail and distribution; ecommerce and digital; property development; automotive and industrials; finance and investment; and pharmaceutical sectors. Owned by the Chearavanont/Jiaravanon family, the C.P. Group operates public companies such as CP Foods, CP ALL and True Corporation, and multiple private firms. He is involved in C.P. Group's technology, media and telecom businesses. He serves as a board member of True Corporation, a leading public company in Asia with more than $10bn in assets, $4bn in revenues, and 23,000 employees.
The businessman will own Fortune as a personal private investment independent of C.P. Group's family businesses. He intends to increase investment in Fortune's digital capabilities, geographic expansion, and editorial talent as part of a strategy to become the premium business content provider worldwide.
"Our vision is to establish Fortune as the world's leading business media brand, with an always-on reach and global relevance," said Mr. Jiaravanon. "The demand for high quality business information is growing, and with further committed investment in technology and brilliant journalism, we believe the outlook for further profitable growth is excellent both for the publication and the events business."
Fortune was founded in 1930 at the outset of the Great Depression. In recent years, it has evolved from a traditional print publication into an international multiplatform, multimedia business that includes a monthly magazine with multiple international editions; a digital news and video platform with a monthly reach of nearly 20 million people; and a live event series for top executives.
Alan Murray, who will become president and CEO of Fortune, said: "I am pleased that we have found an owner for Fortune who believes in our mission, values our editorial independence, wants to invest in our journalism, and thinks Fortune can be the leading brand providing business insight and information around the world. Watch this space: we will be doing big things in the future." Murray added that Clifton Leaf will continue as editor-in-chief of Fortune.
Meredith president and CEO Tom Harty said, "We're pleased to have found Fortune a great home with Chatchaval Jiaravanon. His dynamic leadership will enable the iconic Fortune brand to grow. We thank the Fortune team for their diligent work and wish them continued success."
As part of the transaction, Meredith will provide short-term business continuity services and has entered a multi-year agreement with Mr. Jiaravanon to provide services such as corporate sales, consumer marketing, subscription fulfillment, paper purchasing and printing.
Meredith acquired Fortune as part of its purchase of Time Inc., which closed on January 31, 2018.
"We are excited to leverage our world-class publishing platform to our new partners through these 'win-win' relationships," said Meredith chief development officer John Zieser. "We look forward to announcing additional agreements for the Sports Illustrated and Money brands shortly."
Citigroup Global Markets served as financial advisor to Meredith and Cooley served as legal advisor. Deloitte served as financial advisor to Mr. Jiaravanon and Zhong Lun Law Firm and Dechert served as legal advisors.
Meredith Corporation is a member of FIPP.
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