Meredith Corporation is buying Time Inc. in a deal worth $2.8 billion, but some are alarmed that the deal is backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, known for their libertarian activism.
How much of the deal is controlled by the Kochs?
The transaction is backed by Koch Equity Development, an investment organization created by the Koch brothers, which will provide $650 million to ensure the deal is completed.
“We are adding the rich content-creation capabilities of some of the media industry’s strongest national brands to a powerful local television business that is generating record earnings, offering advertisers and marketers unparalleled reach to American adults,” Meredith CEO Stephen Lacy explained.
“We are also creating a powerful digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the U.S. and over 10 billion annual video views, enhancing Meredith’s leadership position in reaching millennials," he added.
Will the Koch brothers force their politics on the media company?
Meredith denied that the Koch brothers would have any influence on the news Time Inc. produces, saying that Koch Equity Development won't have a seat on the board of directors and will have “no influence on Meredith’s editorial or managerial operations.”
However, many saw sinister overtones in the news media acquisition.
Femininst Amy Siskind called the move an example of "authoritarianism." She tweeted, "This is NOT for economics, this is for the Kochs to control Time, People, Fortune etc content. Don’t be fooled!"
Reporter Steven Greenhouse asked, "Will the Koch Brothers turn Time Magazine into an openly partisan entity like Fox News, Breitbart and Sinclair Broadcast?"
New York Times' Kenneth Vogel said the acquisition could "give the Kochs a powerful platform for their libertarian-infused politics," ignoring completely the assurance that they would have no editorial influence.
The deal is expected to be publicly announced Monday.