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Time Magazine sold to tech billionaire Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)
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Time Magazine, the storied publication whose cover images for decades helped shape the national conversation, has been sold to a Silicon Valley billionaire. owner Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, are buying the magazine from Meredith Corp. The sale comes months after Des Moines-based Meredith, owner of Family Circle and Better Homes & Gardens, completed its purchase of Time Inc. for $2.8 billion.

The purchase price will be $190 million, according to a news release. Benioff is worth $6.7 billion, according to Forbes.

Time-Warner spun off Time Inc. in 2014. The Time Inc. magazines, including Fortune and Sports Illustrated, were once hugely profitable but struggled as the magazine industry saw its advertising decimated in the digital era.

Time will be a personal holding for the Benioffs, with no relationship to the San Francisco software company he founded in 1999, according to a note Time editor Edward Felsenthal posted on the magazine’s website Sunday evening.

“TIME is a treasure trove of the world’s history and culture,” Benioff said in the note released by Felsenthal. “We have deep respect for your entire organization and are honored to now have TIME as part of our family impact investment portfolio.”

Time was founded in 1923 by Yale graduates Henry Luce and Briton Hadden. The magazine pioneered a new form of weekly journalism and became the cornerstone of a media empire that Luce used to leave his imprint on world affairs.

At one time, Time Inc. was one of the most powerful journalism platforms in the world, reaching into politics, sports, business and culture.

It is the latest publication to be bought by a billionaire on the West Coast. Medical entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong bought the Los Angeles Times earlier this year. The Emerson Collective, an organization led by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, bought a majority stake in the Atlantic last year. Five years ago, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos bought The Washington Post.

The sale to Benioff is expected to close in 30 days.