Meredith Corp.’s shareholders will vote to preserve their rights should the company split its TV and magazine businesses at some point down the road.
The vote will take place at Meredith’s annual shareholder meeting on November 11.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based media company has two classes of shareholders: Class B and common shareholders. Class B shares — mostly held by the Meredith family — hold 10 times as much voting power as normal shares, which “anybody can buy,” Mike Lovell, investor relations director at Meredith, explained to Publishers Daily.
The vote in November is on an amendment to the company’s charter that will allow shareholders to maintain this structure of common and high-vote stock, if Meredith were to separate the company.
Meredith's board of directors has unanimously approved the proposed charter amendment.
Shareholders will vote as two separate classes, as well as vote together as a single class.
The amendment to Meredith’s charter “would increase options for a tax-efficient separation of the Company's National and Local media groups while preserving the rights currently held by both classes of shareholders if such a potential future event could maximize shareholder value,” per a statement.
Lovell assured Publishers Daily this amendment is not a response to a specific event. There is no plan to split the company, or a timeline for such a move to take place, he said.
Meredith "wants to give shareholders the chance to make this decision when there is nothing to consider, no transaction to look at… to keep as many options on the table as possible for management in the future,” he said.
Meredith is one of the few companies to still combine its magazine and TV businesses, Lovell noted.
Tribune broke off Tribune Publishing and Tribune Media in 2014. Gannett spun off its local TV business as Tegna Inc. and kept its newspaper business back in 2015.
“Meredith has not been shy to say if there were an opportunity to increase the value of the company by separating into two different parts or even more than that … we would look at that,” Lovell said.
Meredith's National Media Group magazine brands serve more than 190 million American consumers, with lifestyle titles, including People, Better Homes & Gardens, InStyle, Allrecipes, Real Simple, Shape, Southern Living and Martha Stewart Living.
Meredith's Local Media Group includes 17 television stations reaching 11% of U.S. households and 30 million viewers, according to the company.