UPDATED to reflect deal terms, comment from Bustle. Digital publisher Mic Network Inc. has agreed to be acquired by female-focused publisher Bustle Digital Group for a reported $5 million.
The sale price, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, represents a significant discount on Mic’s valuation when it raised $60 million from investors — a group of backers that includes Lightspeed Venture Partners and Time Warner Investments.
A Bustle spokeswoman confirmed the acquisition to Deadline, but did not respond to requests for information about the sale price or layoffs. Bustle’s CEO, Bryan Goldberg, has been acquiring troubled digital assets — most recently picking up Gawker.com, the one-time flagship of Gawker Media, in a bankruptcy auction.
Mic has been struggling financially since Facebook canceled its deal for Mic Dispatch, a weekly news show on Facebook Watch that the millennial news publisher hailed this summer as “a big moment for the company in terms of growth and journalistic excellence.”
Its publisher, Cory Haik, packed up her personal belongings earlier this week, AdWeek reported. She announced her resignation today in an email to Mic’s staff, where she lauded its work reporting on the struggles and triumphs of people who would otherwise have been invisible.
“What you hear less about the truth is that it is expensive,” Haik wrote in an email obtained by Recode. “Our business models are unsettled, and the macro forces at play are going through their own states of unrest.”
Digital publishers have been struggling to find sustainable business models at a time when Google and Facebook together account for nearly 60% of digital advertising revenue and another behemoth, Amazon, is capturing a growing share of the digital ad market.
Content companies have been hit hard by a 2016 change in Facebook’s algorithms that reduced the visibility of news articles and videos in the News Feed. And media darlings, like BuzzFeed, are openly discussing the need for consolidation for digital publishers to survive.