Vox Media, owner of Vox, The Verge, New York magazine and other digital media sites, is acquiring Group Nine Media.
The company said Monday evening that it had signed an agreement to acquire Group Nine in a deal that is set to close in early 2022.
The company indicated Jim Bankoff, who co-founded Vox Media, will continue as CEO and chair of the merged company. Ben Lerer — Group Nine founder and CEO — will join Vox’s board and “maintain a presence at the company to help drive key strategic initiatives and advise on commercial and corporate development.”
The deal is the latest move to combine two digital media conglomerates as industry players seek to consolidate or raise new capital amid increasing competition for the attention of news consumers and the digital ad dollars that come with that attention.
Group Nine formed in 2016 as a merger of NowThis, The Dodo, Thrillist and Seeker. In October 2019, the company acquired women-focused digital media brand PopSugar. The month prior to that deal, Vox had acquired New York Media, which includes that company’s namesake print magazine along with websites The Cut, Vulture and more.
Group Nine’s “organization is strong and complementary to ours in many areas, from the topics they cover and the audiences they serve to the formats in which they tells stories and the platforms they tell them on,” Bankoff wrote in a memo he sent to staff on Monday ahead of the agreement and which was obtained by CNN Business. “Our combined company will be the clear leader in modern media, reaching audiences at scale everywhere, from podcasts to streaming services, from YouTube to TikTok, from websites to print.”
The Wall Street Journal was first to report the acquisition talks, and Bankoff referred to its article in his memo, saying it had sped up the timing of the announcement.
It’s too early to tell if there will be layoffs at Vox or Group Nine, but Bankoff noted in his memo that the two companies will come up with a plan to “integrate functions.”
“None of our existing editorial offerings or services will change as a result of this combination and we will be thoughtful about how we make decisions and treat people,” he said.
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