Media & Advertising

Barry Diller’s IAC in talks to buy People magazine publisher Meredith

Barry Diller’s IAC is in advanced talks to acquire Meredith, the publisher of magazines such as People, InStyle and Real Simple, according to a report.

The deal, which is estimated to be valued at more than $2.5 billion, would broaden IAC’s stable of online publications, which include Brides, Serious Eats and TripSavvy, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

The move would also bulk up IAC’s portfolio of websites, which shrank after the company spun off online dating firm Match Group and video platform Vimeo within the last two years.

IAC declined to comment. Meredith did not return requests for comment.

Shares of Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith jumped over 26 percent in early morning trading Friday. The company’s magazine publishing business has been plagued by shrinking circulation, newsstand sales and withering advertising revenues that have only worsened during the pandemic.

People magazine is Meredith’s marquee publication, which it acquired from Time Inc. in 2018.
Alamy Stock Photo

Meredith, which recently sold its local TV stations to Gray Television for $2.7 billion, made a bold push further into the magazine space in 2018 when it acquired Time Inc. for $1.34 billion.

From that deal, Meredith kept People and sold off Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated in separate transactions. The publisher determined the trio of publications didn’t fit in its female-centric, lifestyle portfolio, which already included Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living and Rachael Ray Every Day.

Barry Diller
Barry Diller, chairman of IAC, is on the hunt for media properties after his company spun off Match Group and Vimeo.
Getty Images

According to the Journal, the Diller-led IAC pulled ahead of another group trying to nab Meredith that includes Phoenix-based private equity firm The Najafi Cos.

A deal between IAC and Meredith could be struck in the coming days, but there is no guarantee anything will come of the talks.

 photo shows the Meredith Corp. headquarters building in Des Moines, Iowa
The Iowa-based Meredith, which recently sold its local TV stations to Gray Television, is looking to shed its magazine division, which has been hampered by slumping sales.
AP

Should IAC acquire Meredith, its magazines would become part of Dotdash, IAC’s publishing division, the Journal said. Formerly known as About.com, Dotdash controls 14 websites that collectively reach over 100 million people each month, IAC’s website said.

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