Authentic Brands, a company that owns or manages the estates of several dead celebrities including Muhammed Ali, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson appears to be the most likely winner of an auction to acquire Sports Illustrated from the Meredith Corporation. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Authentic Brands has entered a bid of $110 million.
Meredith acquired Sports Illustrated’s parent company Time, Inc. in November of 2017 and by March of the following year had put several of the newly acquired assets on the auction block. Authentic Brand’s bid apparently is only for SI. The company doesn’t seem to have interest in the website Fansided or other publications like Time and Forbes that Meredith is trying to sell as well. According to Vanity Fair, Meredith was hoping to sell Sports Illustrated and Fansided as a package deal for between $120 and 150 million.
If the sale goes through, it will be interesting to see what plans a company like Authentic Brands has for Sports Illustrated. The company has already branched out beyond the licensing business. It owns clothing brands Juicy Couture and Aéropostale. Running a full on media brand though would certainly be something new.