Penske’s media roll-up continues with purchase of Vox stake

Founder, Chairman & CEO of PMC Jay Penske
PMC founder, chairman and chief executive Jay Penske.
(Cindy Ord)

Penske Media, owned by trucking scion Jay Penske, is now the biggest shareholder of Vox Media, a company with titles including New York Magazine, the Cut, Vulture and the Verge.

While Penske Media did not disclose the terms of the deal, the stake is for 20% of the company for around $100 million, the New York Times first reported. Vox owns a legion of media brands including PopSugar, Recode, the Dodo and NowThis. Jim Bankoff, co-founder of Vox, said the new money would allow the firm to grow.

“This investment by Penske Media will allow Vox Media to continue scaling its existing brands and operations, while providing resources for future acquisitions, and is another step forward in the ongoing ascent of Vox Media,” Bankoff said. 


The stake adds yet more titles to the growing stable of publishing outlets owned by Penske. Over the years it has added Rolling Stone, the Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Dick Clark Productions, as well as Fairchild Media and a stake in Austin’s South By Southwest festival.

“The Penske Media and Vox Media alliance will further cement both companies as leaders in modern media and take advantage of new opportunities at scale,” said Penske, CEO and founder of his namesake company. “Our two companies share a similar history of organic and acquisitive growth over time, and it made sense to invest for the future.”

However the deal also highlights how the value of the digital media brand has fallen.

The last time Vox raised money in 2015, NBCUniversal invested $200 million at a valuation of about $1 billion, the New York Times reported. That was at a time when large media companies like NBCUniversal were keen to invest in digital brands in a bid to reach younger consumers.

Penske will join the board of directors at Vox as a result of the deal and the two companies will continue to operate independently, the companies said.