Sales of the broadcast and magazine divisions of Des Moines-based Meredith Corp. closed on Wednesday.
Following a shareholder vote on Tuesday in which 99% of investors approved the transaction, Meredith sold her 17 local TV channels to Atlanta-based Gray Television for $ 2.8 billion. Meredith then sold her magazine division to a separate company, which New York-based Dotdash bought for $ 2.7 billion.
Gray announced in a press release Wednesday that the deal with Meredith gives the company the second-largest revenue of all local broadcasters nationwide, with a presence in 113 local markets. Among Gray’s new stations are chains in Atlanta, Phoenix, Portland, Oregon and Nashville, Tennessee.
Gray and Meredith first announced the deal in May. The sale will have limited impact in Des Moines, as Meredith’s TV division only employed five workers at its headquarters and had no stations in Iowa.
âGray is a much stronger company today with the exciting and transformative addition of Meredith’s great TV stations and their great people,â CEO Hilton Howell said in a statement.
Dotdash, meanwhile, takes over Meredith’s magazine division, comprising 39 websites. The division accounted for roughly two-thirds of Meredith’s revenue last year, led by People and Better Homes and Gardens holdings.
Dotdash is a division of the publicly traded technology incubator IAC / Interactive Corp. Owned by former studio director Barry Diller, IAC / Interactive develops digital companies with the aim of turning them into profit.
Dotdash is the product of IAC / Interactive’s 2012 acquisition of About.com, a New York Times-owned site where expert sources have published answers to questions on a variety of topics.
The company was renamed Dotdash in 2017, dividing the content on About.com into separate lifestyle websites including the Home Design site. Spruce and the beauty publication Byrdie. The company operates on what is called an “intention-driven” model of journalism, continuing to write articles that answer questions that attract readers through Google searches.
He will now become Dotdash Meredith. IAC executives told investors that the acquisition combines the strengths of two worlds: the brand recognition of the well-established publications of Meredith, founded in Des Moines in 1902, and the technological know-how of the Dotdash team. .
“No other media company in the world combines this kind of heritage with the scale, speed and power of a digitally driven business,” Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel said in a press release Wednesday. .
Dotdash sites are known to load particularly quickly, avoiding autoplay videos and pop-up ads. Websites deliberately restrict ads, which Dotdash executives say delivers a cleaner user experience that attracts more viewers.
Ads are associated with content on a particular page so that businesses reach the customers they want. The company also directs readers to online retailers, earning revenue for every sale from a Dotdash click.
The IAC team has not yet said what the acquisition would mean for Des Moines, where approximately 870 Meredith employees are based, although Dotdash said it would be a significant part of the operations of the combined companies.
Vogel also told investors on a call in November that Meredith Properties would continue to publish print magazines, although he added: “We’re not the guys who are going to change the age-old decline in print advertising.” .