The family capital behind the Time deal

Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images News / Getty Images
Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images News / Getty Images

The purchase of Time Inc. by Meredith Corporation is a classic family capital deal. Here’s why.

Meredith is a publicly-listed family-controlled publishing house based in Des Moines, Iowa. The business has two categories of shares, common stock, which is mostly owned by institutional investors, and B class stock that has all the voting rights and is owned by the Meredith family.

Two members of the fourth generation of the Meredith family control most of the voting stocks in the publisher - Mell Meredith Frazier and Tom Meredith. Mell sits on the board of the publisher as vice chairman, whereas Tom has no managerial role within the business.

The other part of the equation to buy Time Inc. involves members of another family business. Charles and David Koch, the owners of Kansas-based Koch Industries, used their private investment group, Koch Equity Development, or KED, to provide a big part of the finance for Meredith to do the deal to buy Time Inc.  

Effectively, two mid-west family business dynasties have come together to buy one of America’s most iconic publications. But there’s probably an additional “family linked” player in this deal as well and that is the Chicago deal-maker, Byron Trott.

Trott was an advisor to Meredith when it bought the online publishing group Allrecipes.com back in 2012. And there’s been some speculation that Trott might have worked with Meredith to buy Time Inc. some years back. Of course, Trott’s involvement this time around hasn’t been confirmed, but given his family business deals in the past and his previous involvement with Meredith, his likely role in the deal makes perfect sense.

Could he even have introduced the Koch brothers to the Meredith family?