×

Fortune Magazine Sold to Thai Businessman for $150 Million

Meredith inked a deal to sell the Fortune business-media brand for $150 million in cash to Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by the end of 2018. The sale of the 88-year-old Fortune brand comes after Meredith on Oct. 31 closed on the sale of Time to Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne Benioff, for $190 million.

Alan Murray, formerly chief content officer of Time Inc., will become president and CEO of Fortune. Clifton Leaf will continue as editor-in-chief. Under the new ownership, Fortune will continue to be based in New York City and the group is seeking new office space.

Currently, 170 employees are associated with Fortune. According to Murray, the full staff will be coming over in the transition to the newly established Jiaravanon-owned Fortune Media Group Holdings Ltd. Murray told Variety he was introduced to Jiaravanon through a mutual acquaintance: Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Chrysler and Home Depot. The deal came together in 21 days, Murray said.

“He’s a very charming man,” Murray said about Jiaravanon. “He cares a lot about the Fortune brand, and believes it can be a bigger global media brand than it is today.” Specifically, the Thai business mogul is interested in building up Fortune’s Hong Kong office. “He’s very interested in the China part of the business,” Murray said.

After Meredith closed its $1.85 billion acquisition of Time Inc. in January, the company said it would sell Time Inc.’s news and sports brands — Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money — as well as its investment in ad-tech company Viant Technology to focus on lifestyle and entertainment brands like People and Entertainment Weekly catering to its core audience of American women. Meredith said it expects to announce deals for SI and Money soon.

Fortune was founded in 1930 at the beginning of the Great Depression. Since then Fortune has evolved from a traditional print mag into a global multiplatform, multimedia business that includes the monthly magazine with multiple international editions; a digital news and video platform that reaches an average monthly audience of nearly 20 million; and a live-event series. Its major franchise is the Fortune 500 annual ranking of the U.S.’s biggest companies.

Jiaravanon is affiliated with Bangkok-based 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 Corp., along with multiple private firms.

Jiaravanon is involved in C.P. Group’s technology, media and telecom businesses. He serves as a board member of telecom and cable TV provider True Corp., which holds more than $10 billion in assets, generates $4 billion in annual revenue and has 23,000 employees.

Jiaravanon 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,” 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.”

As part of the Fortune sale, Meredith will provide “short-term business continuity services” and has entered a multiyear agreement with Jiaravanon to provide services including corporate sales, consumer marketing, subscription fulfillment, paper purchasing and printing.

“We’re pleased to have found Fortune a great home with Chatchaval Jiaravanon,” Meredith president and CEO Tom Harty said in a statement. “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.”

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content