Meredith in Deal With Dotdash
Dotdash showed signs of change in 2019, when it bought a venerable magazine, Brides, from Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. It soon scrapped the 85-year-old print version to concentrate on the Brides website.
Before the acquisition, Mr. Vogel said his idea for Dotdash was that it would become “what the future of Condé Nast should be.” The acquisition of Meredith puts the company closer to realizing that ambition.
Magazines have been crunched in recent years by readers’ preference for digital over print, where advertising is both less lucrative and dominated by tech companies.
Charles Whitaker, the dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, said that in purchasing Time Inc., Meredith had been “wildly optimistic about the extent to which acquiring those brands would create these economies of scale and synergies that would help them fend off the Googles and Facebooks of the world.”
He added, “This continued consolidation is obviously troubling. The more competition and the more companies that we have producing content, providing jobs and appealing to audiences is better for the industry.”
Meredith slimmed itself down considerably in the years since its purchase of Time Inc., shedding three prominent Time Inc. titles that did not fit the company’s emphasis on style, fashion, celebrity news and homemaking.
Time magazine, the flagship, went to Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce, and his wife, Lynne, for $190 million later in 2018. The company also sold Fortune, for $150 million, to Chatchaval Jiaravanon, a scion of a prominent Thai family, and Sports Illustrated, for $110 million, to Authentic Brands Group. (A.B.G. later sold Sports Illustrated to TheMaven, which last month renamed itself the Arena Group.)