Original title: who is reaping the world's top media?
On November 9, Fortune magazine was sold to Chatchaval Jiaravanon, a Thai Chinese businessman, for $150 million (about 1 billion yuan).
Two months ago, Time was sold to Marc Be-nioff, an American technology guru, for $190 million (about 1.3 billion yuan).
Fortune magazine and Time magazine are the top brands in the magazine industry. Xie Zhan and Benioff's acquisition are all investments made in the name of individuals. In recent years, cross-border acquisitions of well-known traditional media impacted by the Internet seem to be popular among technological moguls and traditional rich people.
The disintegration of the old giant
Time magazine has a history of 96 years, and fortune magazine has been founded for 88 years. After the 1929 stock market crash, fortune began to issue, accompanied by the ups and downs of many economic cycles in the United States. They belong to Time Inc., a former media giant that is now being split up and sold.
Time Magazine Group is a leader in the media field. It has more than 130 magazines, including Time Weekly, Fortune, Forbes, People and Sports Illustrated. In 2006, Time magazine's net profit amounted to about US $1 billion.
But in the era of Internet, the situation of traditional media is becoming more and more difficult. With the rise of new Internet media, Internet companies represented by Facebook and Google are constantly competing for resources of traditional media. According to advertising agency Magna, advertising sales in the magazine industry will decline another 16% in 2018.
In June 2014, Time Magazine Group was separated from Time Warner Group and started trading as an independent listed company. New York Times reporter David Karl described the split as "sea burial". In the year, the group's net profit was 370 million dollars.
In November 2017, smaller than Time Group, Meredith, a diversified magazine group, announced that it would buy Time Magazine for $1.85 billion in cash, making it the largest magazine publisher in the United States.
Meredith's acquisition of time magazine group was completed in January 2018. But only two months later, Meredith announced that he would sell some publications of Time Magazine Group, including famous magazines such as Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money. Meredith also announced plans to lay off 200 people, and will further lay off 1000 people in the next 10 months. Meredith argues that Time Group's publications attract mainly male readers, which is not in line with its strategy of focusing on women's magazines.
In fact, Meredith succeeded in acquiring the time magazine group after three attempts.
In 2013, when Time Magazine Group had not yet divested Time Warner from its independent listing, Meredith began his plan to acquire Time Magazine, but negotiations broke down. In early 2017, Meredith tried again to buy time group, but failed because of insufficient funds. Eventually, Meredith received $650 million in funding from the well-known wealthy David Koch (Charles Koch) brothers, and finally won Time Magazine Group in November of that year.
Cross border admission
The times group's experience is actually the epitome of the traditional American media industry.
In September 2017, the founder of music magazine "rolling stones" announced the sale of all the shares. In October, Hearst Group acquired the magazine and book business of Rodale group. Disney's recent acquisition of Fawkes in twenty-first Century has just been officially approved by the European Commission. The acquisition of Time Warner by telecom giant AT& and T is also in progress.
In recent years, technology giants are buying media companies.
In 2013, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million. Laurene Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steven Jobs, bought most of Atlantic Monthly through its Emerson Collective Foundation in 2017.
Although the performance of these traditional newspapers and magazines has declined seriously in recent years, they still have considerable brand influence. After all, it is still a great thing for anyone to be the cover character of Time.
Benioff, who bought Time magazine, is the co-founder and CEO of Salesforce, a cloud computing company, worth $6.6 billion. Cross border acquisition of the times is Benioff's personal behavior and has nothing to do with Salesforce. Benioff said that it would not involve routine operations and reporter reporting, while maintaining the current organizational structure.
"We're investing in a company that has a tremendous impact on the world, and it's a very powerful business. When we invest in families, this is exactly what we are looking for. Benioff said in an interview.
However, there are different opinions about Benioff's acquisition of the times.
Some people think that Benioff and others only see the value of the media in the political and cultural circles. But the key question is whether their efforts and resources can make the old magazines survive in the struggle when the business model of traditional printed magazines has been fragmented. David Nussbaum, CEO of America's Test Kitchen, is even more blunt. The cross-border takeovers of these technology moguls are "vanity takeovers".
At the same time, there are also people who are optimistic about Benioff. Eric Zinczenko, CEO of Bonnier Broadcasting Corporation, believes that Benioff can understand the huge brand value created by news assets. With the injection of capital, news assets will be far away from reliance on traditional media forms and expand into new profit areas.
Like all other magazines, the paper publishing business of fortune is on the decline. In 2018, advertising pages fell by more than 25%, forcing them to concentrate on other growth areas, especially digital advertising and conference business. These businesses currently account for about 62% of its annual revenue of nearly $100 million, while Fortune magazine EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) is about $10 million.
Xie Zhan, a Thai Chinese businessman who acquired Fortune magazine, is a board member of food company Charoen Pokphand, one of the largest companies in Thailand. Xie graduated from the Univer sity of Southern California and is a board member of True Corpora-tion, a Thai media company. Although not from the scientific and technological community, Xie Zhan's acquisition of Fortune, like other investment magazines, is also an individual investment behavior.
Like Benioff and others, Xie is most concerned about the brand of Fortune magazine. Xie's success in the acquisition competition is mainly due to the acquisition price and investment willingness, but he did not disclose the specific amount of investment.
After being bought, Fortune magazine may increase its staff and consider setting up a toll wall for the website. Xie said in his statement that he will continue to invest in the development of science and technology in Fortune magazine. He plans to increase digital investments in Fortune magazine, expand the region and recruit more editors.
The emergence of new things and the extinction of old ones are inevitable. Cash-rich technologists enter the magazine industry through personal investment, regardless of the real purpose, which is an opportunity for the traditional media in urgent need of digital transformation. Whether the acquired traditional media can succeed in transformation with the help of new capital can only wait and see.
Waonews is a news media from China, with hundreds of translations, rolling updates China News, hoping to get the likes of foreign netizens