Vice Media acquires Refinery29
Vice Media has acquired the women’s lifestyle publisher Refinery29. The deal is the second significant merger among digital publishers in recent days. Last week, Vox Media acquired New York Media, the company behind New York magazine and its online offshoots.
The acquisition is valued at approximately $400 million and includes stock with some cash, report two people who are familiar with the transaction.
Refinery29 had been looking for possible buyers for the last few years as it faced a tough business environment with Google and Facebook dominating the digital media market and together taking more than 60 percent of online advertising revenue.
Nancy Dubuc, the chief executive of Vice, called the merger “a transformative day” in a note sent to the staff Wednesday. “With this acquisition, we’ll be growing our investment in premium content production across all our divisions,” she added.
In addition, the company laid off 10 percent of staff earlier this year and consolidated several websites under the Vice.com umbrella. They further plan on cutting some jobs in their business and administrative wings, but plan to add more people in the editorial and creative departments.
Vice Media launched as a free punk magazine in Montreal in 1994. Over the years, it has largely sloughed off its brash tone to become a global media company with about 3,000 employees. This year, Vice announced that it had raised $250 million in debt financing from investors who included the billionaire George Soros.
Despite these announcements, Ms. Dubuc anticipated the remarks of critics concerning the merger of Vice Media and Refinery29. “Predictably, after we make this announcement, we know some will think of the old Vice stereotypes and ask, how can the ‘bros’ ever mesh with the feminists of Refinery?”
“And for all of us who don’t identify in the binary,” she added, “our company will remain committed to celebrating gender in all its beautiful expressions.”