Vox Media acquires New York Magazine
Vox Media has agreed to acquire New York Magazine, the company behind the biweekly print magazine and five popular online offshoots, in an all-stock transaction.
While consolidations in the media industry typically mean cutting costs, Vox and New York said their combination was something different. They are bringing together a much-decorated print magazine, websites, a podcast empire and several streaming television deals.
“No one had to do this,” Pamela Wasserstein, the chief executive of New York Media, said on Tuesday. “It’s a brilliant, in our view, opportunity, so that’s why we leaned into it. It’s not out of need. It’s out of ambition.”
Jim Bankoff, the Vox Media chief executive and chairman, pledged that the merger would not result in editorial layoffs or the folding of any of the New York-related publications, including the print magazine, or the Vox brands, which include The Verge, Eater, Curbed, Vox and SB Nation. “Nothing changes editorially for any of our brands,” Mr. Bankoff said.
David Haskell, who succeeded Adam Moss as New York’s editor in chief in April, said in a phone interview, “There’s a part of me that’s a little wistful about saying goodbye to the independent family business, but a bigger part of me is confident that Pam found us the ideal long-term partner.”
Mr. Haskell will remain in charge of the print magazine and its digital titles, reporting to Ms. Wasserstein. Melissa Bell, the publisher of Vox Media, will continue to manage Vox’s editorial teams and report to Mr. Bankoff.
With the rise of digital media in the last two decades, many companies built on magazines have struggled. More recently, digital media companies have also started to struggle, leading many outlets to ponder joining with rivals to increase their chances of long-term survival. Venture capital-backed sites like BuzzFeed, Vice and Group Nine have sought mergers in the last year.
Even with the addition of New York Media, Vox Media expects to remain profitable, Mr. Bankoff and Ms. Wasserstein said. Bolstered by its new acquisition, Vox Media expects to exceed $300 million in revenue by the end of 2020, according to two people familiar with the deal.
Ms. Wasserstein and Mr. Bankoff started discussing the possibility of joining forces in June at the Code Conference, an annual tech-industry gathering produced by Recode. This year’s conference took place at the Phoenician resort near Phoenix.
The combined sites will have 125 million monthly unique visitors, the companies estimated.
“New York was pretty much unique in being a small, family-owned company, and did very well at that,” Mr. Moss said. “But moving ahead into economic waters that are hard to predict, it’s stronger to be bigger.”