Husband-wife team buys Time magazine for US$190 million

The cover of Time magazine is seen at a news stand at Pennsylvania Station in New York

The cover of Time magazine is seen at a news stand at Pennsylvania Station in New York U.S

Salesforce.com Inc. founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne agreed to acquire Time magazine from Meredith Corp for US$190 million (S$261 million) in cash, joining Mr Jeff Bezos among tech billionaires buying venerable print publications.

Benioff, who has a net worth of $6.5 billion, serves as the co-chief executive officer of Salesforce, but the deal is unrelated to the tech company, according to the statement.

He added that the Benioffs had told him to "think big, really big", and envision what Time will look like in 2040. The deal is expected to close in 30 days.

"We're pleased to have found such passionate buyers in Marc and Lynne Benioff for the Time brand", Meredith president and CEO Tom Harty said in a statement.

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Meredith acquired TIME as part of its purchase of Time Inc., which closed on 31 January 2018.

Benioff has said that Time is a company that has a "tremendous impact on the world", and is also an "incredibly strong business".

The Benioffs' purchase of Time will be kept separate from Salesforce, and the couple plans to take a hands-off approach to managing the magazine.

"For over 90 years, Time has been at the forefront of the most significant events and impactful stories that shape our global conversation". The Benioffs said they won't be involved in day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions.

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Benioff, who ranks 246th on Bloomberg's billionaire's list, is promising a similar arrangement with Time.

Meredith plans to use proceeds from the transaction to pay down debt and expects to reduce its debt by $1 billion during fiscal 2019.

The transaction is reminiscent of Bezos's $250 million acquisition of the Washington Post in 2013.

As previously announced, Meredith is also working to sell the Time Inc. publications - Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, "to focus on brands serving its core audience of American women".

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"We can't imagine better stewards for TIME than Marc and Lynne Benioff". A Meredith spokeswoman said in media reports that deals for the other three titles are expected to be announced in the "near future".

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