Vox Buys Thrillist Publisher Group Nine As Wave Of Media Consolidation Continues
It has already been a pretty busy year for media deals.
And as digital advertising rates quietly creep higher, Vox Media is responding to rival Buzzfeed’s recent public offering via SPAC by acquiring rival Group Nine, the publisher of Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo, PopSugar and Seeker.
Vox’s Jim Bankoff
If the all-stock deal goes through, Vox will own 75% of Group Nine, according to internal memos seen by CNBC and WSJ.
The deal would leave the combined company a private firm. However, Vox would be free to use a SPAC set up by Group Nine to go public and raise more public and private funds, if need be.
Vox CEO Jim Bankoff and Group Nine CEO Ben Lerer sent emails to employees after WSJ broke the news on Monday.
A deal would mark the end of an excruciatingly long series of on-and-off talks with various digital media rivals.
Group Nine has held on-and-off merger talks with Vox, BuzzFeed and other digital media companies for years, as CNBC reported last week. The name of the game is scale; the more properties and clicks, the better equipped they will be to compete for advertising dollars with Facebook and Google.
Vox’s Bankoff reportedly told his staffers that the deal isn’t signed but is expected to take place shortly and will close in early 2022. Lerer will take a board seat at Vox. Vox’s publications, which include New York Magazine, the Verge, Eater, Curbed, Vox and SB Nation, will remain intact after the acquisition, according o the memo.
He added that management has no plans to go public. Still, the SPAC we mentioned above isn’t simply going away. If Vox changes its mind (or finds it needs more runway to burn), the SPAC option remains open and easily accessible.
Mon, 12/13/2021 – 21:20