×

Time Magazine Sold to Salesforce Founder Marc Benioff, Wife Lynne Benioff for $190 Million

Another storied journalism brand has ended up in the hands of a Silicon Valley mogul.

Marc Benioff, co-CEO and co-founder of Salesforce.com, and his wife, Lynne, are the new owners of Time magazine. The couple is paying $190 million in cash for the 95-year-old newsmagazine, which currently has 2 million subscribers (less than half of its peak circulation).

“The power of Time has always been in its unique storytelling of the people & issues that affect us all & connect us all,” Marc Benioff wrote in Twitter posts on Sunday evening. “A treasure trove of our history & culture. We have deep respect for their organization & honored to be stewards of this iconic brand.”

In March, Meredith — after completing the $1.85 billion acquisition of Time Inc.said it was shopping Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Money. The publishing and media company also disclosed plans to lay off 1,200 employees.

According to Meredith, the sale of Time to the Benioffs is expected to close in the next 30 days.

The Benioffs’ purchase of Time magazine is fully separate from Salesforce.com, which sells services to help companies manage sales and customer service. “Mr. and Mrs. Benioff will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions, which will continue to be led by Time’s current executive leadership team,” Meredith said in announcing the deal Sunday.

It’s the latest case of tech money stepping in to take stewardship of a journalism franchise. In 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post and last year Laurene Powell Jobs, who was married to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, bought a majority stake in The Atlantic.

“The Benioffs have a profound commitment to community and to finding solutions to some of society’s most complex problems, whether it’s building children’s hospitals or tackling homelessness,” Time editor Edward Felsenthal wrote in a note to staffers Sunday, published on Time’s website. “They are also committed, as Time is, to the sharing and debating of competing ideas and to journalism of the highest quality.”

According to Time, it has an audience of 100 million worldwide and a video business that is on pace to deliver nearly 2 billion streams in 2018.

Meredith said it plans to use proceeds from sale of Time mag to pay down debt. The company said it anticipates reducing its debt by $1 billion during fiscal 2019; it forecasts generating $1 billion of EBITDA and having net debt below $2 billion by the end of fiscal 2020.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • The Ringer Promotes Sean Fennessey, Mallory

    The Ringer Promotes Sean Fennessey, Mallory Rubin to Top Editorial Roles

    Mallory Rubin and Sean Fennessey have been promoted to top editorial posts at The Ringer, the pop culture and sports website and podcast network. Fennessey has been named chief content officer and Rubin has been named editor in chief. Both editors have been with The Ringer since it launched in 2016. Fennessey previously served as [...]

  • RihannaFenty Beauty By Rihanna Launch, Madrid,

    Rihanna's Diamond Ball Will Honor Activist Shaun King, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley

    Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and civil rights activist Shaun King will receive this year’s Diamond Ball Award at Rihanna’s fifth annual Diamond Ball, which will also feature performances from Pharrell and DJ Khaled. “I can’t imagine a better night than this year’s Clara Lionel Foundation event with Seth Meyers, Pharrell and DJ Khaled,” said [...]

  • Rules Don't Apply

    Warren Beatty and Arnon Milchan Settle Suit Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Arnon Milchan and Warren Beatty have settled their two-year legal battle over the disastrous release of “Rules Don’t Apply,” Beatty’s period drama about Howard Hughes. Milchan’s attorneys have filed a notice with the court dismissing his suit against Beatty. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Milchan’s company, New Regency, sued Beatty and other investors [...]

  • A Quiet Place

    Why Dynamic Pricing for Movie Tickets Could Be a Tough Sell

    People aren’t going to the movies as much this summer. Are they staying away because the films are duds, or is it because tickets are getting too expensive? AMC is making a bet that cost, not quality, is behind the recent downturn. Last week, the country’s largest exhibitor announced it will be testing a new [...]

  • Yara Shahidi

    Audible Teams Up With Big Names as Audio-Only Storytelling Expands

    Hobnobbing with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Kate McKinnon and Yara Shahidi isn’t typically the gloss applied to the cerebral audiobook set, but Audible is putting the humble audio story through its own movie-makeover montage, inking high-profile development deals with entertainment names like “The Walking Dead” comics creator Skybound Entertainment, Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Lorne [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content