Not long after selling iconic magazine TIME to Salesforce’s founder and his wife Marc and Lynne Benioff for US$190 million, Meredith has now found a new owner for its FORTUNE media brand. The brand has been sold to Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon for US$150 million and transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by 2018.
Jiaravanon is affiliated with the Charoen Pokphand Group, an international conglomerate with businesses in telecom and media; agro-food; retail and distribution; e-commerce 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. Jiaravanon is the chairman and founder of Charoen Energy and Water Asia, CEO of Charoen Pokphand Indonesia and holds senior positions in Metro Machinery Caterpillar heavy equipment, Thai Kodama, Aeon Thana Sinsap Public and others.
Jiaravanon is involved in C.P. Group's technology, media and telecom businesses and 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 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."
Founded in 1930 at the outset of the Great Depression, FORTUNE has become synonymous with business success. 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 that reaches nearly 20 million people each month; and the world's preeminent live event series for top executives, all overseen by a high quality editorial team.
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 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. Shortly thereafter, Meredith announced it was selling Time Inc.'s news and sports brands – TIME, Sports Illustrated, FORTUNE and MONEY – to focus on brands serving its core audience of American women. Meredith closed on its sale of TIME to Marc and Lynne Benioff for US$190 million on October 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."