While the US media has survived a precipitous drop in advertising revenue as tech giants like Facebook and Google have continued to hollow out the industry, Silicon Valley billionaires have been stepping in to purchase struggling legacy media organizations, seeing a valuable opportunity to peddle influence and protect their interests.
The latest example of this trend broke Sunday night when the Wall Street Journal reported that Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and wife Lynne Benioff have agreed to purchase Time Magazine from Koch brothers-owned Meredith Corp. only eight months after the Kochs had purchased Meredith after Meredith had bought what was formerly the magazine portfolio of Time Warner (itself now merged with AT&T). The sale price: $190 million.
Like Jeff Bezos, who purchased the struggling Washington Post in 2013 and provided the company with a badly needed infusion of capital, the Benioffs are purchasing Time as private individuals. Meredith had put several magazines, including Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money up for sale earlier this year. The deal is expected to close within 30 days.