Vox Media to Acquire Group Nine Media, Creating One of the Biggest Media Companies in US

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
December 14, 2021 Updated: December 14, 2021

Mass media company Vox Media is acquiring Group Nine Media in a move that will create one of the biggest media companies in the United States, the company announced on Monday.

Vox Media, which owns Vox, The Verge, New York magazine, SB Nation, and other digital media sites, said in a statement that the acquisition is the largest of five that it has signed this year and ends a “year of growth” for the company.

Group Nine, a digital media company based in New York City, is home to brands including The Dodo, NowThis, Thrillist, Seeker, and PopSugar, which it acquired in October 2019 for $300 million.

“The merger creates one of the biggest media companies in the U.S. and further strengthens Vox Media’s business, reaching audiences at scale on all platforms, from podcasts to premium streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, from YouTube to TikTok and Roku, from owned and operated websites to an iconic print magazine,” Vox Media said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close in early 2022 and is also outside of the Group Nine SPAC (Group Nine Acquisition Corp.), which is a completely separate entity.

Vox Media co-founder and CEO Jim Bankoff will be the CEO and chair of the new combined company, as per the statement. Meanwhile, Group Nine founder and CEO Ben Lerer will join the board of Vox Media “and maintain a presence at the company to help drive key strategic initiatives and advise on commercial and corporate development.”

“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… This is the beginning of our most exciting chapter,” Lerer said.

In Monday’s statement, Vox Media and Group Nine touted their combined total of 350 million social media followers across platforms, according to analytics firm Comscore, noting that their combined audience would make Vox Media a top 10 U.S. media company by audience.

Bankoff, in a memo to staff sent earlier Monday and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, said the business rationale behind the merger is “to grow revenue, increase scale, and combine these incredibly powerful and complementary portfolios.”

Vox Media’s latest acquisition marks the fifth this year after it previously acquired Cafe Studios, Punch, Hot Pod, and Criminal Productions. The acquisition also follows the November 2019 merger between Vox Media and New York Media.

The latest acquisition was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which noted that Vox Media shareholders would own 75 percent of the combined company.

The Epoch Times has contacted a spokesperson at Vox Media for comment.

Group Nine Media last year formed its own special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC) to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO). The SPAC could be used as a vehicle to take another company public with it, although at the time, Group Nine Media said it had “not selected any specific target business and we have not, nor has anyone on our behalf, initiated any substantive discussions, directly or indirectly, with any target business regarding a business combination with our company.”

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed went public through an SPAC merger and acquired Complex Networks, an American media and entertainment company popular among millennials and Gen Z, as part of that deal.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.