Vox Media announced Monday, 13 December 2021, that they had signed an agreement to acquire Group Nine in a deal set to close in early 2022.
The company hinted that co-founder Jim Bankoff would continue as CEO in the incoming merged company. Meanwhile, Group Nine founder and current CEO Ben Lerer will “maintain a presence at the company to help drive key strategic initiatives and advise on commercial and corporate development” as part of Vox’s board.
Formed in 2016 after a big merger between NowThis, The Dodo, Thrillist and Seeker in 2016, Group Nine also recently acquired PopSugar in October 2019. These popular sites will join Vox, The Verge, New York magazine, The Cut, Vulture, and other digital media sites under Vox Media.
Group Nine’s “organization is strong and complementary to ours in many areas, from the topics they cover and the audiences they serve to the formats in which they tell stories and the platforms they tell them on,” wrote Bankoff in an internal memo prior to the agreement obtained by CNN Business.
“Our combined company will be the clear leader in modern media, reaching audiences at scale everywhere, from podcasts to streaming services, from YouTube to TikTok, from websites to print.”
Before the memo was published, the Wall Street Journal had already reported the acquisition talks, which Bankoff referred to in his memo as a factor that sped up the announcement. Bankoff also promised a plan to “integrate functions.”
The deal is part of the wave of acquisitions within the digital media industry as competition for news consumers’ attention gets even more challenging. In 2019, Vice Media acquired Refinery29 while, a year after, BuzzFeed announced its intention to purchase HuffPost from Verizon Media.