Vice Media Acquiring Women-Focused Refinery29 for $400M
Two leading online publishers are combining, with Vice Media announcing it has acquired Refinery29. While it didn't name the price, news outlets say the deal is worth $400 million, of which most was in stock and some in cash. The CEOs of both companies signed the agreement on Tuesday.
Both Vice and Refinery29 have clearly defined identities and viewpoints. Vice speaks to young and nontraditional viewers, leading with news and documentaries. Refinery29 presents a mix of news, fashion, and wellness for women. Explaining the benefits of the acquisition, Vice said Refinery29 will enhance Vice's digital offerings, and its Originals, experiential, e-commerce, and creative agency divisions will add to Vice's global businesses.
Following the acquisition, Refinery29 will become part of the Vice portfolio, but will retain its current identity. Vice believes it can grow Refinery29's audience.
“This is an expansive moment for independent media,” said Nancy Dubuc, Vice's CEO. “Vice Media Group and Refinery29, two of the strongest independent voices in the industry, will continue to build a scaled global and diversified media company. We will not allow a rapidly consolidating media ecosystem to constrict young people’s choices or their ability to freely express themselves about the things they care about most.”
Combining the two companies will strengthen both and make them more competitive, Dubuc added. Both companies have struggled with profitability and have recently been forced to layoff employees. The New York Times reports that some business and administration employees may be let go following the acquisition, but more people will be added to the editorial and creative departments.
Group Nine announced it will acquire Popsugar, which will help it grow reach for advertisers and tap into a new, largely female audience.
While Vice has experienced a lot of changes in the past year, its new leadership aims to keep the publisher's uniquely off-center point-of-view intact.
The millennial media company isn't known for scripted content, but that could change with the debut of Vice Studios. Is an IPO in the near future?
In today's advertising climate, even Vice needs to assure advertisers their messages will find a brand-safe home on its platform.
The youth network now has 4 cable channels in North America and Europe, and plans to launch 20 more by the end of the year.