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Meredith sells Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brands Group for $110M

Meredith Corp. has sold its Sports Illustrated news outlet to Authentic Brands Group LLC in a $110 million deal.

The acquisition involves the purchase of Sports Illustrated's intellectual property and its associated brands including Sports Illustrated Kids, Sportsperson of the Year, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, SI and SI TV.

The strategic partnership between Meredith and ABG covers print, digital, mobile, video, social and broadcast television. ABG will develop licensing programs and handle marketing and business development functions for the Sports Illustrated brand.

The Sports Illustrated print magazine and SI.com will maintain editorial independence and Editor-in-Chief Chris Stone and publisher Danny Lee will continue to lead.

Meredith will pay ABG a licensing fee to operate the print magazine and SI.com for a minimum of two years. The deal, however, excludes the FanSided digital platform which Meredith is in the process of selling, according to a May 27 news release.

Through the "transformative acquisition," marketing and entertainment company ABG has secured rights to over two million images that are a part of Sports Illustrated's archive of owned photography.

The deal proceeds will also allow Meredith to pay its debt.

Meredith started marketing Sports Illustrated for sale in 2018 at a price tag of $150 million. The media company acquired Sports Illustrated as part of its purchase of Time Inc. on Jan. 31, 2018. It soon announced the sale of certain Time Inc. news and sports brands. The sale of the TIME, Fortune and Sports Illustrated brands helped Meredith garner about $450 million in fiscal 2019.

Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal adviser to ABG for the transaction. Houlihan Lokey was the financial adviser and Cooley LLP served as legal adviser to Meredith.