Verizon & Hearst Buy Complex; Digital Pop Culture Hub Targets Millennials


Verizon and Hearst’s content alliance just became a little cozier. The companies unveiled today an agreement to buy Complex, a digital company that targets Millennial males. It will develop video for the telco’s Go90 mobile service and AOL.

The companies didn’t announce financial terms for the acquisition, which is expected to close in about two months and leave each partner with a 50% ownership stake in Complex. Co-Founder and CEO Rich Antoniello will continue to run the operation.

The deal follows Verizon’s recent agreement to buy 24.5% of AwesomenessTV, equal to Hearst’s stake at the digital content company run by DreamWorks Animation. Verizon Hearst Media Partners, the alliance formed in March, also plans to create two channels for Millennials: (for those in the heartland) and Seriously.TV (comedy about current events).

“With Verizon and Hearst, we‘re on track to become the most influential digital and linear entertainment destination, period,” Antoniello says.

Verizon SVP of Consumer Product and Marketing Brian Angiolet calls the acquisition “a continuation of our media strategy, which is focused on disruption that is occurring in digital media and content distribution, and involves building a portfolio of the emerging digital brands of the future for the Millennial and Gen-Z audience.”

Hearst Entertainment & Syndication Co-President Neeraj Khemlani adds that the agreement “represents the acceleration of Hearst’s growing partnership with Verizon, which has unparalleled ad, video and mobile technology, and an appetite to build together the digital video networks of the future.”

LionTree Advisors advised Complex on the deal.

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