Meredith Corporation announced on Friday it has agreed to sell Fortune magazine to Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon for $150 million in cash, marking the second time this year the publisher has sold one of its legacy media brands.
Jiaravanon, a part owner in the Charoen Pokphand Group, a Thai conglomerate with media and telecom investments, will own Fortune separately from the firm. He plans on increasing investment in Fortune’s digital team and worldwide expansion, according to the company’s announcement.
“Our vision is to establish Fortune as the world’s leading business media brand, with an always-on reach and global relevance,” Jiaravanon said in a statement shared with TheWrap. “The demand for high quality business information is growing, and with further committed investment in technology and brilliant journalism, we believe the outlook for further profitable growth is excellent both for the publication and the events business.”
Fortune was founded in 1929, with its first issue publishing in February 1930. The magazine has specialized in profiles of high-ranking business executives and is synonymous with its annual Fortune 500 list, which ranks the top U.S. companies. Like many other outlets, though, it has struggled to adapt to a digital-first environment. Fortune’s hit 2.6 million readers across its digital and print audience in September, according to NBC News, marking a 33 percent drop from a year ago.
Fortune is the latest outlet unloaded by Meredith after the company sold Time to Salesforce chief Marc Benioff for $190 million in September. Meredith bought Time Inc. last year for $1.8 billion, bringing Fortune, Sports Illustrated and People into the Iowa-based publisher’s fold.
Fortune president Alan Murray, who will now add chief executive to his title with the transaction, told the Wall Street Journal that Jiaravanon will not play a daily role in the outlet’s operations.
“He’s buying it as a personal investment because he loves the brand,” Murray told WSJ. “He likes our mission and will support our editorial independence and wants to see us do more and get bigger.”