*According to Reuters, Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman is in the lead to acquire Sports Illustrated magazine from Meredith Corp (MDP.N) for about $150 million.
“Bridgeman has the potential to cash in on the growing demand for sports betting, which states are beginning to legalize after a Supreme Court ruling this year,” Forbes writes.
News of the potential deal follows reports that Saleforce.com founder Marc Benioff, purchased Time magazine from Meredith this year for $190 million, and Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon acquired Fortune for $150 million.
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Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman, our new @Cocacola bottler. #franchiseballplayer #franchisebottler @nba @Bucks pic.twitter.com/OlLrC1m7Ob
— Ben Deutsch (@KOnocomment) April 20, 2016
Meredith entered into a multiyear agreement with Benioff and Jiaravanon to provide services such as subscription fulfillment, paper purchasing and printing. They could enter into a similar agreement with Bridgeman.
The former NBA star is reportedly in the final stages of negotiating a deal for SI after securing acquisition financing. If his effort is successful, an announcement could come by the end of the year, according to sources.
A Bridgeman purchase of Sports Illustrated would serve as the latest example of a wealthy influencer taking over a declining media empire. In 2013, Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million.
Bridgeman played for the NBA from 1975 to 1987. He later acquired Chili’s and Wendy’s restaurants, which he sold for $400 million in 2016.