TIME editor in chief Edward Felsenthal’s memo to staff about the magazine’s sale
Time’s EIC sent this memo to staffers on Sunday night after Marc and Lynne Benioff announced a deal to acquire the magazine.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of talking to many people about the work we do here and how much we’ve accomplished as a team. Thanks to all of you — through your talent and creativity, your hard work and high standards — the message was clear.
Our journalism is driving national and global conversations. Our business is strong and profitable. We have the largest audience by far in our history, 100 million people around the world; a slate of exciting new franchises and events; a fast-growing video operation that will see nearly 2 billion streams this year, won an Emmy last fall and is up for two more this fall. Meanwhile, our agenda-setting magazine, with 2 million subscribers, remains the largest U.S. print title in news. We can all take great pride in the work we’ve done to build a new foundation for TIME, while upholding the core values that have defined this globally trusted brand for nearly a century.
Everyone involved in this process, including Meredith’s leadership team, has been committed to finding an investor who shares those values, and who also shares our confidence about where TIME can go next and the impact it can have in the world. So I could not be more thrilled that Marc and Lynne Benioff will be the new owners of TIME. From the first moments we sat down with Marc and Lynne to discuss TIME’s future, we knew that this was not just a meeting of minds and business goals, it was a confluence of purpose. The Benioffs have a profound commitment to community and to finding solutions to some of society’s most complex problems, whether it’s building children’s hospitals or tackling homelessness. They are also committed, as TIME is, to the sharing and debating of competing ideas and to journalism of the highest quality.
The Benioffs will hold TIME as a family investment. It will have no connection to Salesforce, the software company Marc founded in 1999. While they will not be operators of the business, we are extremely fortunate to have Marc and Lynne’s guidance and mentorship as we set out to build a new company.
“TIME is a treasure trove of the world’s history and culture,” Marc wrote Sunday in a note he asked me to share with you. “We have deep respect for your entire organization and are honored to now have TIME as part of our family impact investment portfolio. The power of TIME has always been its unequaled ability to tell stories about the people and issues that affect us all and connect us all. Lynne and I will take on no operational responsibility for TIME, and look only to be stewards of this historic and iconic brand with all of us.”
One of the first challenges Marc and Lynne gave us is to think big, really big. Beyond the five-year plan, what will TIME look like in 2040? What will it mean to people decades from now?
That’s what we’ll all be thinking about as we create a new home for TIME rooted in what we know how to do so well, with the resources we need to reach our greatest potential as individuals and as a team, supported by owners with a sterling record of innovation and of building collaborative, creative cultures.
The journey we begin today starts with you. You have the talent and grit that got us to this historic moment for TIME. I can’t thank you enough for that, or for your patience through this process. It is the privilege and challenge of a lifetime to help take TIME forward with you and with Marc and Lynne Benioff, and I can’t wait to get started.