InterActive Corp., the digital media company founded by Barry Diller, is in advanced discussions to acquire magazine publisher Meredith Corp.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the talks, said a deal would value Meredith at more than $2.5 billion. The Iowa-based company, which recently sold its local TV stations to Gray Television, publishes People, Better Homes & Gardens and Entertainment Weekly. Meredith closed a $1.34 billion deal for Time Inc. in 2018, but People ended up being the only tentpole brand to stay under the tent. Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated were sold in separate transactions after Meredith determined they did not fit with its female-skewing lifestyle holdings.
The sale of Time Inc. punctuated the end of a long run of independence for Time Warner, which merged in 2018 with AT&T after a pitched antitrust battle with the government.
IAC has a number of digital outlets like Brides and Serious Eats, but a Meredith deal would onboard dozens more. Some publishers have made a go of print but are turning ever more toward digital, especially given the go-go climate for digital advertising.
Meredith has had other suitors and it was not certain that IAC would finalize a deal, the Journal noted. In a vibrant overall M&A climate, digital media has been a particularly dynamic sector, with sports site The Athletic shopping itself, reportedly for upwards of $750 million.
An IAC spokesperson said that the company “does not comment on rumors or speculation.” A spokesperson for Meredith Corp. also declined comment.
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