IAC’s Dotdash kicked off December by closing its acquisition of Meredith, making it the #1 digital and print publisher in the U.S. The deal was an all-cash transaction with a purchase price of $42.18 per share which equates to $2.7 billion. Meredith owns many well-known brands including PEOPLE, Better Homes & Gardens, Allrecipes, InStyle and REAL SIMPLE. The combined company will remain headquartered in New York City and led by Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel. Dotdash Meredith will be reported as a separate business division under the IAC corporate umbrella.
“Today marks the start of a big new opportunity at IAC—conceived by the ambitious minds of Neil Vogel and the Dotdash team and made possible in collaboration with our talented new colleagues from Meredith—to define a new future in publishing,” said Joey Levin, CEO of IAC. “Dotdash Meredith has a bright future ahead.”
In addition to Meredith’s brands, Dotdash has its own rich portfolio including Verywell, Investopedia, The Balance, The Spruce, Simply Recipes, Serious Eats, Byrdie, Brides, Liquor.com, Treehugger, MyDomaine, Lifewire, Tripsavvy and ThoughtCo.
Together Dotdash and Meredith represent more than 40 well-known brands that reach 188 million consumers monthly, according to comScore data from October 2021. Ninety-five percent of the audiences is comprised of women. Meredith brings its advertising capabilities, first party data and advertiser relationships to the dance, while Dotdash offers digital-first e-commerce and performance marketing expertise. The company expects more than 70% of 2021 pro forma Adjusted EBITDA to come from digital with adjusted EBITDA from digital assets expected to exceed $450 million in 2023.
“Dotdash Meredith’s future has begun,” said Vogel. “No other media company in the world combines this kind of heritage with the scale, speed and power of a digital-first business. Dotdash Meredith will deliver intent-driven media at a scale never seen before.”
In October, Meredith CEO Tom Harty told employees that they made the deal because IAC was offering a premium price and the company’s leadership felt the companies would be a good fit for each other.
“Dotdash has stressed a commitment to Des Moines, where our roots have been firmly planted since our founding and where we’ll have a continued presence,” Harty said in October.
At the time, Vogel said that one of the benefits to the relationship is that Meredith was so much bigger than Dotdash and the five-year-old company could learn much from Meredith.
“They’ve been at this longer than we have. And a lot of the things they’ve done with data re far beyond what we’ve done,” Vogel said.
Meredith has also sold its broadcast division to Gray TV. The deal, which was originally $2.7 billion, was increased to $2.825 billion. Shareholders will receive $16.99 per share once the deal is complete.
“We are extremely proud of our 120-year history of journalistic integrity and dedication to building world class brands and consumer experiences,” Harty said. “We are focused on closing both transactions and delivering value to shareholders. Looking ahead, we are enthusiastic at the opportunity to further strengthen our brands and consumer relationships as part of Gray and Dotdash Meredith.”
This is the end of an era. It is almost hard to believe that, just years after buying Time Inc. and choosing to narrow its focus on print and digital magazines, that Meredith is so willing to walk away. There are synergies between the two companies, for sure, but it still doesn’t seem like the perfect match. It seems like we aren’t hearing the full story here. We’ll update you if new details emerge.