Vox Media has agreed on terms to purchase Group Nine, owner of media brands including The Dodo, PopSugar and Thrillist, that will see these titles and more stand alongside Vox’s existing catalog.
With popular titles including New York Magazine, The Verge and Polygon already under its belt, the addition of a slew of new titles will catapult Vox into one of the 10 largest media firms in the US by audience reach.
The enlarged business will count 350 million social media followers and 6bn monthly video views, all catered for by an in-house advertising marketplace called Concert, which will now add the Group Nine brands to its reach of hundreds of millions of people each month.
Vox has pursued an aggressive growth plan focused on its podcast and studios business, alongside web media and print, under its co-founder Jim Bankoff, who will become chief executive officer and chair of the enlarged Vox Media. Group Nine founder and chief executive Ben Lerer will transfer to the Vox board to maintain continuity.
Bankoff commented: “Under Ben’s stewardship, Group Nine has navigated from a scrappy startup to one of the biggest and most successful publishers in the industry. Much like us, their team has proven to be a leader in building cherished media brands from the ground up, as well as successfully acquiring and integrating properties. With this acquisition, Vox Media will extend its leadership into new categories, formats and distribution platforms by welcoming more beloved properties into our portfolio.
“Our combined company will be the premier home for creators, storytellers, journalists, product innovators and business people who want to grow their careers and have an impact through their work.”
Lerer added: “This combination will not only create unparalleled scale and revenue diversification, it will bring together some of the most popular brands, premium content, and creative and business talent in the world.”
Throughout 2021 Vox completed four previous podcast-centric acquisitions: Cafe Studios, the podcast-first media company; Punch, a media brand covering drinks and cocktail culture; Hot Pod, the podcast publication; and Criminal Productions, a narrative podcast studio.
Subject to clearing all regulatory hurdles the purchase should be finalized early next year.