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Meredith to Merge Eating Well & Cooking Light, Plans Layoffs

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Meredith Corporation (MDP - Free Report) unveiled plans to merge Eating Well and Cooking Light magazines in a bid to produce the biggest subscription magazine in the epicurean space. Additionally, there were rounds that the company is laying off 200 employees as part of its cost-cutting action.

Post merger, the new magazine will be published under the brand name Eating Well, with a circulation rate base of 1.775 million compared with Eating Well’s existing rate base of 1 million. As for Cooking Light, this deal will mark the magazine’s last issue in December. The new magazine, which is set to be launched with January/February 2019 issue, will be published ten times a year.

The online versions of Eating Well and Cooking Light will continue to exist, with roughly 6 million monthly visitors. Further, Meredith is on track to launch Cooking Light’s special interest newsstand-only label in 2019, with plans of being published 6 times each year. In fact, per sources, Meredith is planning something similar for its Coastal Living brand.

Coming back to the news, other branded ventures of both Cooking Light and Eating Well, that include cookbooks, licensing, the Cooking Light Diet and bookazines, will continue to operate under their current names.

We believe that the combination of these two powerful magazines will strengthen the company’s editorial portfolio. Additionally, advertisers will be able to reach out to customers in the healthy lifestyle space. Sources revealed that the content of the two magazines were overlapping, which prompted the company to make this move. Notably, these magazines were added to Meredith’s portfolio following its acquisition of Time, Inc.

Meredith’s Eating Well magazine has been a leading player in the healthy lifestyle market for more than 25 years. The magazine covers a vast range of topics including science-based food, wellness journalism, farm-to-table, locally sourced ingredients, and fresh and easy recipes to meet consumers’ demand. Further, PIB stated that the magazine’s advertising pages have risen more than 10% for the year, making it the forerunner in the epicurean category.

All said, we believe that the above-mentioned initiatives will fuel growth and provide some respite to the stock. Incidentally, this Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) stock has lost 21.1% year to date, significantly underperforming the industry’s decline of 6.6%.



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