Chatchaval Jiaravanon, the Thai businessman who acquired Fortune Magazine this morning from Meredith Corp. for $150 million, was a last-minute bidder who swooped in late as discussions were ongoing with other prospective buyers, Fortune CEO Alan Murray said this morning.
“These guys came in with an aggressive price pretty much because they had to,” Murray says, speaking from Hong Kong. “He came into the process late, but got very excited very quickly, and the whole deal happened in about 21 days.”
The deal with Jiaravanon came after at least two other times this year when Meredith thought it had a deal to sell Fortune, but for whatever reasons, it didn’t happen, Murray adds. But Jiaravanon “was looking around for investments, and had an interest in media, and connected with someone who I know well, who suggested we talk,” Murray says, describing how the process developed. “He was familiar with the Fortune brand and thought it was a great.”
Jiaravanon is an executive affiliated with the Charoen Pokphand Group, an international conglomerate based in Bangkok with holdings in agriculture, food, telecom, cars, finance, pharmaceuticals and retail. He will own the magazine as a personal investment.
Murray says he’ll be meeting with Jiaravanon tomorrow to discuss priorities for the brand going forward. “We think there are growth prospects for us in the U.S. media business, and in China, where our business is already strong but where we have the prospect to grow,” Murray says. “There are some also some growth opportunities in the conference business. We think we can present him with an ambitious and compelling growth agenda.”
Murray says Jiaravanon hasn’t been specific about how much more he wants to spend, after having paid $150 million in cash for Fortune, but says Jiaravanon is committed to making smart investments to grow the brand.
Murray says all staff that is currently with Fortune will come along in the transition to the new owner, and that he expects additional headcount to be added. He says that brand will continue relying on a variety of back-office services from Meredith, including payroll, IT support, office space and more, but will relocate out of the old Time Inc. offices in Manhattan by the middle of next year. “We’re going to stand ourselves up independently and in separate offices as quickly as possible,” he says. “We plan to move. It may take a few months to work out. We’ll move by the middle on next year certainly.”
More Info: forbes.com