After a rather prolonged process, it seems like Meredith Corp has found a buyer for Sports Illustrated.
Variety reports that Meredith is set to sell Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brands Group for $110 million. This hasn’t been much of a surprise in recent months. Despite some inklings of other potential buyers, Authentic Brands had been the favorite to buy the entity, seemingly going virtually unopposed for the last month.
With the sale, Authentic Brands obviously has control of the “Sports Illustrated” name. It also means Authentic Brands has control of SI’s photo archive as well as the kids magazine and the swimsuit and Sportsperson of the Year issues. What isn’t included is Fansided, which Meredith is still looking to sell.
At this point, the main value Sports Illustrated has is in its name. Other than the swimsuit issue, and to a lesser extent the Sportsperson of the Year issue, the magazine isn’t being read. Meredith is going to be paying editorial costs to keep the print and digital versions going for the next two years but after that ends, it’s a relative unknown as to whether or not the print version will go away.
There is some value in the site and considering Authentic Brands manages a bunch of companies and brands in their portfolio, such as Nautica, Aéropostale, Shaquille O’Neal, Greg Norman, and Muhammad Ali, the SI site may be a vehicle for Authentic Brands to take their other brands and combine them into one huge synergy strategy for Authentic Brands’ other properties that can double as advertising and content.