Meredith Finds New Owner for Fortune Magazine

Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon will buy it for $150 million in cash

The $150 million cash sale, if approved, will go to a holding company owned by Chatchaval Jiaravanon. Fortune
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Days after finalizing the sale of Time magazine, Meredith announced today that it intends to sell another Fortune magazine and its assets, which came with its Time Inc. acquisition.

The $150 million cash sale, if approved, will go to a holding company wholly owned by Chatchaval Jiaravanon, a Thai businessman. Meredith expects the sale to close in 2018.

Jiaravanon’s acquisition of Fortune was described in a statement from Meredith as a “personal private investment.” He intends to invest in Fortune’s digital capabilities and worldwide expansion.

“Our vision is to establish Fortune as the world’s leading business media brand, with an always-on reach and global relevance,” Jiaravanon said in a statement. “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.”

Jiaravanon is the chairman and founder of Charoen Energy and Water Asia Co. Ltd., CEO of Charoen Pokphand Indonesia and holds senior positions at companies that include Metro Machinery Co. Ltd., Thai Kodama Co. Ltd. and Aeon Thana Sinsap Public Co. Ltd. Jiaravanon’s family jointly owns Charoen Pokphand Group, an international conglomerate, and Jiaravanon is chairman of True Corporation, a public company that the group has invested in.

A spokesperson for Jiaravanon did not reply to requests for comment.

Fortune was founded in 1930 and has grown its conference and events business under brands such as Fortune 500, 100 Best Companies to Work For, Most Powerful Women, World’s Most Admired Companies and 40 Under 40.

Meanwhile, circulation decreased from 756,877 over the course of six months on average, ending in June 2017, to 752,202 for the same period measured in 2018, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

Meredith will use the sale proceeds to reduce its debt, which it expects to decrease by $1 billion in fiscal 2019. It will continue to provide some services to Fortune, including corporate sales and consumer marketing.

Alan Murray, chief content officer of Time Inc., will become CEO and president of Fortune and Clifton Leaf will stay on as the brand’s editor in chief.

“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,” Murray said in a statement. “Watch this space: We will be doing big things in the future.”

Still up for grabs over at Meredith are Money and Sports Illustrated. A Meredith spokesperson said the company hopes to announce deals on those titles soon but did not give a specific timetable. Meredith recently finalized the $190 million sale of Time to Marc and Lynne Benioff.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.