Meredith Corp is buying Time, Inc. with the help of the Koch brothers.

Reuters reports:

U.S. media company Meredith Corp (MDP.N) said on Sunday it will buy Time Inc (TIME.N), the publisher of Sports Illustrated and Fortune magazines, in a $1.84 billion all-cash deal backed by conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch….

It will give news, business and sports brands to the Des Moines, Iowa-based publisher and broadcaster, which owns lifestyle magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens and Family Circle….

When combined, the Meredith and Time brands will have a readership of 135 million people and paid circulation of nearly 60 million. The deal also will expand Meredith’s reach with internet-savvy millenials, creating a digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the United States and more than 10 billion annual video views.

While the parties to the deal are denying the Koch brothers will have editorial influence, the NY Times is unsure of that:

It was not clear how much influence, if any, the Kochs would wield over Meredith or Time Inc. The brothers have long sought to shape political discourse through their support of nonprofit organizations, universities and think tanks but have never owned their own media company.

In a news release announcing the deal, Meredith said that Koch Equity Development would not have a seat on Meredith’s board of directors and would “have no influence on Meredith’s editorial or managerial operations.” The investment from the Kochs, Meredith said, “underscores a strong belief in Meredith’s strength as a business operator, its strategies, and its ability to unlock significant value from the Time Inc. acquisition.”

If the Koch brothers did exert influence, that would be a good thing. As Prof. Glenn Reynolds proposed in 2012, Republican donors should purchase magazines that shape the culture, such as women’s magazines:

The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. So while nine out of 10 articles may be the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping, the 10th will always be either soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft — or sometimes not-so-soft — hits on Republicans….

This kind of thing adds up, especially among low-information voters. They may not know or care much about the specifics, but this theme, repeated over and over again, sends a message: Democrats are cool, and Republicans are uncool — and if you vote for them, you’re uncool, too.

Liberals are not buying that the Kochs are shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars just for the non-political investment value of the deal.

[Featured Image: Time magazine cover January 19, 1999)

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