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Vox Media acquires Thrillist owner Group Nine

The Vox website is displayed on an iPad.
Vox Media Inc. has reached a deal to buy Group Nine Media Inc.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

Vox Media Inc. said it has acquired Group Nine Media Inc. in the latest sign of consolidation in the digital media business.

“With this acquisition, Vox Media will extend its leadership into new categories, formats and distribution platforms by welcoming more beloved properties into our portfolio,” Vox Media Chief Executive and Chair Jim Bankoff said in a statement. “This acquisition will build on and accelerate the leading creative and business strength that both companies already have achieved.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The two companies will operate separately until the deal closes in early 2022, Bankoff said Monday in note to staff reviewed by Bloomberg News.

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Group Nine owns websites including PopSugar, the Dodo, Thrillist and NowThis. Vox Media owns New York magazine, the Verge, SB Nation, Eater and others. The media company has about 850 employees, including more than 90 in Culver City.

Vox has no immediate plans to go public, Bankoff said.

BuzzFeed News employees walk out on Thursday to push for higher wages as they continue to negotiate a contract.

Group Nine CEO Ben Lerer said in a separate note to his staff that the combined company would be called Vox Media and Bankoff will be CEO. Lerer will join the board. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Monday on the merger discussions.

The deal marks the latest high-profile transaction in digital media. Last year, BuzzFeed bought HuffPost.

As part of going public this month, BuzzFeed acquired youth-focused media company Complex Networks from Hearst Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. BuzzFeed shares have fallen 36% since their public debut Dec. 6.

Digital media companies have struggled to compete for online ad dollars with tech giants such as Google and Facebook, and have been looking to combine with one another to offer marketers a larger audience. Group Nine has also started a SPAC that is publicly traded.

Times staff writer Wendy Lee contributed to this report.


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