Meredith Sells Travel & Leisure Magazine for $100 Million

From a Wall Street Journal story by Dave Sebastian headlined “Meredith Sells Travel & Leisure for $100 Million”:

Wyndham Destinations Inc. is buying the Travel + Leisure publication from Meredith Corp. for $100 million, in a deal that would expand Wyndham’s business beyond its core vacation-ownership operations.

In addition to its eponymous magazine, Travel + Leisure operates membership-based travel services. Wyndham runs 230 timeshare resorts, with more than four million members. . . . The combined company would have 18 resort, travel-club and lifestyle-travel brands.

Meredith will continue publishing Travel + Leisure under a 30-year renewable licensing agreement, with the Travel + Leisure staff remaining as Meredith employees.

Wyndham Destinations, which spun off Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc. in 2018, plans to change its name to Travel + Leisure Co. . . .

The goal of the combined company will be to grow its membership travel-club businesses, offer new travel services and expand licensing agreements.

“What we will do is start providing more subscription-based travel benefits for a lower price and for a shorter duration,” Wyndham Chief Executive Officer Michael Brown said. Under the agreement, the Orlando, Fla.-based timeshare company will initially pay $35 million in cash at closing, followed by payments through 2024. . . .

Meredith, known for lifestyle titles like Better Homes & Gardens and Allrecipes, acquired Travel + Leisure as part of its purchase of Time Inc. in 2018.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based company later sold Time magazine for $190 million to billionaire Marc Benioff, chief executive of Inc., and his wife, Lynne Benioff, in the face of declines in print advertising and newsstand revenue. Fortune magazine, which was also part of Time, was sold to Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon for $150 million.

Wyndham Destinations reported a roughly 44% decline in quarterly revenue in October, as the coronavirus pandemic hurt its business by $31 million.

Corporate travel has been hit hard as companies shifted to remote work during the health crisis. Buoyed by road trippers, leisure travel has held up better. . . .

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