UPDATE: According to the NY Post, Hearst’s board is expected to meet on Wednesday to approve the acquisition of Pennsylvania based health and wellness media giant Rodale. The deal will bring brands like Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Prevention, Runner’s World and other titles under the same roof as Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmo, O The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, Marie Claire and many others. Hearst beat out Meredith Corp with a bid said to be above $250 million. The deal will mark Hearst Magazines’ entrance into the fitness and health space. This deal will probably also put pressure on Time Inc’s brass which went through a lengthy bidding process during the summer to sell itself only to abandon the effort. Recent reports paint a dismal future for the company which is now in the process of selling off several assets to help pay down some debt.
Meredith for a long time now has been hungry for a deal. In a recent interview Meredith’s President/COO Tom Harty said the company was looking to grow organically as well as through acquisitions saying that Meredith was on the acquisition trail. But this is nothing new because Meredith has been on the acquisitions trail now since forever it seems. Unfortunately the company doesn’t seem hungry enough to pull it off as deal after deal has slipped through its fingers over the years. Now it looks like another deal is about to do just that, slip through Meredith’s fingers again. The deal we speak of is the chance to buy Rodale which is on the block and has generated a lot of interests from investors and other magazine publishers like Hearst. According to a report from NY Post and now WWD, Hearst is the front runner to acquire the Pennsylvania based publisher after it reportedly outbid Meredith.
Hearst has been trying to get a foot into the fitness space and acquiring Rodale’s titles like Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World would allow it to enter the space in a big way. Hearst’s bid is said to be more than $250 million and a deal could be finalized in the coming weeks. For Meredith, acquiring Rodale’s title’s would allow it to expand its footprint in the health and fitness space as it already publishes popular titles like Shape. If Hearst does end up acquiring Rodale, it would be yet another blow for Meredith which has tried and failed to close some major deals in the past including a merger with Media General. However we can’t point all the fingers at Meredith, after all it was believed to be the front runner during the Time Inc bidding process when that company was for sale. But Time eventually pulled the plug on a sale shattering Meredith’s long time dream of acquiring it.
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