Salesforce supremo Benioff buys Time magazine for $190m

Are we seeing the rise of a new era of media moguls?

Salesforce supremo Marc Benioff and his wife are buying the US magazine Time for $190m, according to reports.

The deal has nothing to do with Salesforce, the company that billionaire Benioff founded where he still serves as chief exec.

Time was owned by the Meredith corporation, which bought Time Inc – the publishing group that formerly counted the American weekly news mag as one of its flagship titles – for $2.8bn in 2017.

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The magazine group's fortunes have acutely reflected the general decline in media publishing profitability, with its famous Time Warner incarnation being de-merged in 2014. As well as flogging Time magazine itself, Meredith is reportedly looking to sell off other titles, including Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, in favour of keeping a clutch of magazines "serving its core audience of American women".

As for Benioff and Time, he told The Wall Street Journal: "We're investing in a company with tremendous impact on the world, one that is also an incredibly strong business."

Time is chiefly known for its long-running Person of the Year feature, as well as its front covers, which normally feature prominently trendy American business figures.

Benioff joins Amazon chief Jeff Bezos in buying a media outlet. The Western tradition of rich businesspeople investing in news firms is one that has long attracted the wealthy and powerful, including Russia's Lebedev family, which bought London's Evening Standard newspaper and then hired recently ousted Chancellor George Osborne to edit it shortly after his fall from power. ®

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