US magazine publisher Time Inc snapped up in £2.1bn deal

Time Inc, the iconic US magazine publisher, has been bought by industry rival Meredith Corporation in a $2.8 billion (£2.1 billion) deal.

Meredith has made an $18.50-per-share cash offer to buy all outstanding shares in the company, which has been approved by the board of both firms.

The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, represents a 46% premium of Time Inc's closing share price on November 15.

Time Inc owns a string of titles including the eponymous current affairs magazine, NME, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, while Meredith Corporation owns magazines such as Eating Well and Better Homes & Gardens, as well as a number of US TV stations.

John Fahey, Time Inc chairman, said: "Time Inc's board has unanimously determined that this all-cash transaction, and the immediate, certain value it provides, is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders."

The takeover will forge a media and marketing firm with revenues of $4.8 billion (£3.6 billion), earnings of $800 million (£599 million), and total advertising revenues of $2.7 billion (£2 billion).

The deal, which is subject to US regulatory approval, is expected to provide cost savings of between $400 million (£299 million) and $500 million (£375 million) within the first two years.

Stephen Lacy, chairman and chief executive of Meredith Corporation, said: "We are creating a premier media company serving nearly 200 million American consumers across industry-leading digital, television, print, video, mobile, and social platforms positioned for growth.

"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.

"We are also creating a powerful digital media business with 170 million monthly unique visitors in the US and over 10 billion annual video views, enhancing Meredith's leadership position in reaching millennials."

The deal comes after Time Inc was thrust into the spotlight on Friday when it became embroiled in a public spat with US President Donald Trump over Time Magazine's Person of the Year award.

In a tweet, President Trump wrote: "Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named "Man (Person) of the Year," like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!".

Time later posted a tweet of its own disputing Mr Trump's account: "The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. Time does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6."

Time's Person of the Year is defined by the weekly as "a person (or people) who has had the most influence over the news in the last 12 months".

Awarded since 1927, the accolade has gone to a wide variety of people -- even Adolf Hitler in 1938, and Joseph Stalin in 1939 and 1942.