May 28 (UPI) — The owner of Sports Illustrated has agreed to sell off the magazine’s brand and intellectual property in a $110 million deal.
Meredith Corporation, however, will pay Authentic Brands Group a licensing fee to continue operating and publishing the magazine and its website for at least two years. As part of the deal, ABG will assume the marketing, business development and licensing functions.
“We’re thrilled that Authentics Brands Group and Meredith share the vision of SI management to build a premium sports platform,” Sports Illustrated Editor-in-chief Chris Stone said in a statement. “We are now perfectly positioned to thrive in many other spaces.”
The sale, announced Monday, allows the company to keep editorial control and independence.
ABG already generates $9.3 billion in global retail sales annually.
By acquiring brand rights of Sports Illustrated, ABG extends its portfolio — which includes celebrity figures like Prince, Muhammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe.
Meredith acquired Sports Illustrated last year as part of its deal to buy Time Inc.
The proceeds from sales are helping Meredith pay down $1 billion in debt. With the sale of Sports Illustrated alone, it will have paid down $900 million of debt by June 30. The company said the goal is to pay down another $100 million by Sept. 30 after completing the sales of FanSided and Viant.