Meredith Corp. has agreed to buy Allrecipes.com from Reader's Digest Association for $175 million, the companies said Tuesday.
Meredith , the publisher of magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies' Home Journal, has been bulking up in the food space since last June, when it acquired Eating Well magazine and introduced a food site at Recipe.com. But Eating Well, a bimonthly magazine, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, a subsequent acquisition from Reader's Digest Association, came relatively inexpensively.
For its much more substantial investment, Meredith is getting the U.S. biggest food site (see chart) and more than doubling the ad inventory it can offer marketers as part of the Meredith Women's Digital Network, which includes the websites for its magazines. Food advertising suffered last year as marketers dealt with higher costs, but the category is expanding among advertisers and consumers over the long term, and particularly in digital, according to Meredith .
"We see strong growth in the digital food category overall," said Liz Schimel, exec VP-chief digital officer at Meredith . "Very importantly, we see more and more women seeking information digitally about food and cooking, and what they want to eat and shop for. So with this acquisition, the tremendous scale we have in print is mirrored by the tremendous scale we have on the digital side."
The site gets its recipes from consumers, unlike Meredith 's Recipe.com, which posts items from professional-content sources such as Better Homes and Gardens. Allrecipes.com, which will continue to be based in Seattle, also brings Meredith additional expertise in search engine optimization.
All Things D reported last Monday that Meredith had secured a deal for the site, which Reader's Digest put on the block last fall. The deal is expected to close within 60 days.