Merging company

Vox Media is considering a merger with Group Nine


Vox Media has agreed to buy Group Nine Media, a deal that will combine two major digital media publishers as the industry consolidates further, the companies said Monday night.

Jim Bankoff, managing director of Vox Media, said in an interview Monday that the combined companies would be “considerably greater than the sum of the parts.”

He will be the managing director and chairman of the publisher, which will retain the Vox Media name, while Ben Lerer, founder and managing director of Group Nine, will join the board of directors of Vox Media, the companies said.

Vox Media, co-founded by Mr. Bankoff in 2011, is the publisher of Vox.com, The Verge and SB Nation, as well as New York magazine and its related websites, which he purchased in 2019. Group Nine operates lifestyle sites. PopSugar, NowThis, the Dodo, Thrillist and Seeker. The combined company, which has nearly 350 million social media subscribers and six billion monthly video views, is expected to generate more than $ 700 million in revenue and $ 100 million in pre-tax profits next year, according to two people familiar with the financial details.

Mr Lerer said his discussions with Mr Bankoff started in earnest this summer. Group Nine had previously had discussions with Vox Media and other companies about a merger through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, which it had formed with the intention of becoming public.

“I felt like I was given an incredible education, not just on edge, but actually got to see inside so many companies,” Mr. Lerer said, adding: “It was clear that Vox was the best, I would say by really head and shoulders.

The deal, signed on Monday evening, is an all-equity deal expected to close early next year. Terms were not disclosed. The new Vox Media would be among the largest media companies in the United States, with around 2,000 employees, Bankoff said, adding that Group Nine websites complement those of Vox Media, adding that Group Nine audiences was younger.

“Group Nine is extraordinary in the social field, where there is so much growth,” said Mr. Bankoff. “Vox Media, for example, is extraordinary in podcasting and has a strong presence on our websites. Both companies, he said, have strong studio divisions: “I don’t think there is a major premium streaming service that we don’t work with.

Digital media companies have been looking for ways to reimburse investors and compete with Google and Facebook, which dominate online advertising. Recent consolidations include BuzzFeed’s purchases of HuffPost and Complex Networks, and Vice Media’s acquisition of lifestyle publisher Refinery29. And Vox Media may not be done moving, whether through additional acquisitions or going public, Bankoff said.

“IPO may or may not make sense depending on market conditions and other factors, and we’ll keep thinking about it,” he said. The Wall Street Journal first reported advanced talks between the two companies.

BuzzFeed, known for its lifestyle journalism and social media reporting, went public on December 6 when it merged with a so-called blank check company. The results so far have been disappointing: Its stock, which opened on the first day of trading at $ 10.95, closed at $ 6.25 on Monday.