At the end of the week, Meredith Corporation announced their plan to sell the entire Fortune media brand to Thai tycoon Chatchaval Jiaravanon for a reported $150 million in cash. You may not know who Jiaravanon is but he is the nephew of one of the wealthiest and most significant business leaders in Southeast Asia: Dhanin Chearavanont. In addition, Jiaravanon is the son of a billionaire who is part of a family that is worth at least $36 billion. This family, overall, ranked fourth in Asia’s richest families, in 2017, according to Forbes magazine.
Chearavanont (the uncle) is not only the richest person in all of Thailand, but he is also the senior chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), which is among the biggest producers of animal feed, shrimp farming, and poultry products in the world.
But while the world may not quite know who Chatchaval Jiaravanon is, yet, he actually has quite a bit of familiarity with the United States. After all, he attended—and received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from—the University of Southern California. With that, then, he operates his family’s C.P. Pokphand Group technology, media, and telecom businesses. He also serves on the board for the Asian communications conglomerate known as True Corporation. What’s more, he is founder and chairman for Cheroen Energy and Water Asia as well as CEO at Charoen Pokphand Indonesia and even a member of INSEAD’s Southeast Asia Council.
In terms of the deal, you should know that Des Moines, IO-based Meredith first acquired Fortune as part of its larger purchase of Time Inc. The sale closed earlier this year, followed quickly by Meredith selling off Time magazine, in October; the buyer was cloud computing firm Salesforce co-founder Marc Benioff, and his wife Lynn. Meredith has said they also plan to sell of Sports Illustrated and Money (which were part of the Time Inc deal), as they move to focus more on brands that serve American women.
Some are noting that this transaction appears to be on trend right now, as it seems to have become quite popular for wealthy businessmen to acquire struggling print publications. Consider, for example, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ $250 million purchase of The Washington Post.
Fortune was founded in 1930. The media franchise includes brands like Fortune 500 and the 100 Best Companies to Work For (and other similar firms).