PopSugar, a female-skewing digital brand that started off as a humble blog in 2006, has been acquired by Group Nine Media in the latest major M&A transaction to rearrange the digital media sector.
The brand joins a stable at Group Nine that already includes Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker.
Terms were not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal said the deal is valued at $300 million.
Group Nine Media was created in 2016 after Discovery Communications put $100 million into the venture. Just last month, Group Nine raised $50 million in additional funding, led by Discovery, with German publisher Axel Springer also investing.
The transaction follows several high-profile digital deals, including Vox’s acquisition of New York magazine, and Vice Media’s takeover of Refinery29. The digital space, which years ago presented a bold new frontier for startups to enter and disrupt traditional media outlets, is experiencing a wave of consolidation. The dominance of Facebook and Google in the digital advertising arena has squeezed a lot of newer companies, many of which spent freely to scale their businesses, only to see ad revenue flatten.
“When we started Group Nine almost three years ago by combining Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo, and Seeker, we foresaw the impending consolidation of the industry and set out to create a model for the next-generation media company with significant scale, deeply loyal and engaged audiences, multiplatform expertise, and highly diversified revenue,” said Ben Lerer, CEO of Group Nine. “PopSugar hugely expands our reach within an important demographic, bringing us a community that deeply loves the PopSugar brand and a company with the proven ability to diversify their revenue across premium advertising, affiliate, direct-to-consumer commerce, licensing, and experiential channels.”
“Over the past few years, we’ve gotten POPSUGAR to profitability and found a way to build a well-diversified business that has outlasted many of our competitors in a rapidly evolving space,” said Brian Sugar, Founder & CEO of POPSUGAR. “Joining forces with a company and team that has the ambition, momentum, and market leadership of Group Nine, combined with our experience and innovation in commerce and experiential, will allow us to build a scalable business model that sets the standard for the next-generation media company.”
Cooley LLP advised Group Nine Media and Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP and Code Advisors advised PopSugar.
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