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Meredith Corporation is an American media conglomerate based in Des Moines, Iowa. The company owns magazines, television stations, websites, and radio stations. Meredith's publications have a readership of more than 120 million, paid circulation of more than 40 million, and its websites have nearly 135 million monthly unique visitors. Meredith's broadcast television stations reach 11% of U.S. households.
In February 2013, Meredith and Time Warner held discussions on a possible purchase of Time Inc.; Time Warner at the time elected to spin it out as a separate company instead.
On September 8, 2015, Media General announced its intent to acquire Meredith in a cash and stock deal valued at $2.4 billion. Pending regulatory and shareholder approval, the deal was expected to be consummated in June 2016. The combined company would have operated under the name Meredith Media General, and be the third-largest owner of television stations in the United States--serving an estimated 30% of households. To comply with FCC ownership limits, the company would have divested and/or swapped stations in six markets. Media General shareholders would have controlled 65% of the company, with Meredith shareholders holding 35%. However, the offer was countered by Nexstar Broadcasting Group, who made a successful, $4.6 billion bid to acquire Media General instead.
In February 2017, it was reported that Meredith and a group of investors led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. were considering another possible purchase of Time Inc. On November 26, 2017, it was announced that Meredith Corporation would acquire Time Inc. in a $2.8 billion deal. $640 million in backing was provided by Koch Equity Development, but the Koch family would not have a board seat or otherwise influence the company's operations.
On January 9, 2018, it was announced that Meredith would launch a Hungry Girl magazine on January 16, expanding from the online brand.
On January 31, 2018, the company completed the acquisition of Time Inc. In March 2018, only six weeks after the closure of the deal, Meredith announced that it would lay off 200 employees, up to 1,000 more over the next 10 months, and explore the sale of Fortune, Money, Sports Illustrated, and Time. Meredith felt that, despite their "strong consumer reach," these brands did not align with its core lifestyle properties.Howard Milstein had announced on February 7, 2018, that he would acquire Golf Magazine from Meredith, and Time Inc. UK was sold to the British private equity group Epiris (later rebranded to TI Media) in late February. In September 2018, Meredith announced the sale of Time to Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne for $190 million. In November 2018, Meredith announced the sale of Fortune to Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon, whose family owns Charoen Pokphand, for $150 million. In May, 2019, Meredith announced the sale of Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brands Group, for $110 million.
Time Inc. Productions was renamed Four M Studios in May 2018. The studios is under Bruce Gersh, Meredith's president of People, Entertainment Weekly and People en Español and head of Four M Studios.
The broadcasting division owns 15 television stations. Meredith's broadcasting division also produces Better, which was originally conceived as a brand extension of BH&G. Since its inception in 2007 the show has placed an increasing emphasis on celebrity interviews and music performances. There are also cooking demonstrations and regular features on health, beauty, fitness and fashion. The program currently airs on 80 stations nationwide.
On December 23, 2013, Meredith announced plans to buy St. LouisCBS affiliate KMOV and Phoenix independent station KTVK for $407.5 million in cash from Gannett Company and Sander Media, LLC to satisfy a federal mandate that Gannett sell KMOV. The purchase of KMOV was completed on February 28, 2014, while the KTVK sale was completed on June 19.
Following the 2018 announcement that Cox Media Group was looking to divest its 14 stations, Meredith was mentioned as a leading candidate to purchase the Cox stations. Such an acquisition would require minimal divestiture (only in Atlanta do the two companies overlap), and would also mark a return to Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Orlando where Meredith previously owned stations, though none of the former Meredith stations in those markets are currently owned by Cox.
On May 2, 2019, reports were made suggesting that Meredith was planning to sell off its stations to focus on its core media properties, with Apollo Global Management (which reached a deal to acquire a majority stake in the Cox stations through a joint venture called Terrier Media on February 15 of that year) suggested to be the main frontrunner.
Current Meredith-owned stations
(**) indicates a station that was built and signed on by Meredith.
() indicates a station that was owned by First Media prior to its acquisition by Meredith in 1997.
2 WCPX was acquired along with KPDX and WHNS when Meredith bought their parent company First Media, but the station was swapped to Post-Newsweek Stations (former name of Graham Media Group) for WFSB a day later. Meredith never held control of the station.
Four M Studios (Four M), formerly Time Inc. Productions, is Meredith's in-house production company and is under the oversight of Bruce Gersh, Meredith's president of People, Entertainment Weekly and People en Español.
After attempting a few TV shows in 2014 and 2015, the company formed Time Inc. Productions in 2016 as its in house production company. The company launched its free, ad-supported online video service PeopleTV in 2016 which got a pay TV deal by May 2018 with FuboTV. In November 2017, the company launched its first over-the-top subscription service, Sports Illustrated TV, available via Amazon Channels. On October 30, 2017, the company announced that Paramount Network were partnering on two TV show pilots.
Time Inc. Productions was renamed Four M Studios in May 2018. Four M would expand from the Time titles to all Meredith titles and to freestanding lifestyle shows and scripted shows. Four M also announced at that time a deal with Freeform TV channel to develop Meredith magazine stories, including People's "Heroes Among Us" franchise, into to telefilms.
Four M Studios partnered with Imagine Entertainment's Imagine Kids & Family division. Its first project from the partnership is LIFE for Kids, a children's TV show using LIFE Magazine's photo archive.