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Fortune magazine sold to Thai businessman for $150 million

Fortune magazine sold to Thai businessman for $150 million
Meg Whitman on the cover of Fortune magazine in 2009. (Fortune)

Meredith Corp. agreed to sell Fortune magazine and its related businesses for $150 million, furthering the company's efforts to shed the news-focused brands it acquired in buying Time Inc.

The buyer is Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon, an owner of the Charoen Pokphand Group conglomerate, Meredith announced Friday. He will own Fortune in a personal capacity, continuing a growing trend of wealthy investors snapping up venerable journalism outlets. Meredith sold Time magazine in September to Salesforce.com Inc. founder Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, for $190 million.

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"Our vision is to establish Fortune as the world's leading business media brand, with an always-on reach and global relevance," Jiaravanon said in the statement.

Fortune was founded in 1930 during the Great Depression — a few years after sister publication Time — and its Fortune 500 ranking of corporations became synonymous with big business. Fortune competes with Bloomberg News, a unit of Bloomberg LP, in providing financial news and information.

Alan Murray will continue to lead Fortune as president and chief executive, with Clifton Leaf remaining editor in chief.

Des Moines-based Meredith bought Time Inc. this year, saying it would sell the company's news and sports brands, Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Money, to focus on female-targeted lifestyle titles that fit better with Meredith's existing magazine stable. The company said it would use the Fortune proceeds to pay down debt.

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