Refinery29 was urgently searching for a merger partner, and Vice Media just inked a deal to buy it

  • Vice Media bought Refinery29 to create a bigger, more gender-inclusive company.
  • The two publishing groups have reportedly been in talks since July, when Refinery29 was searching for a partner to combine with amid tightening finances.
  • The deal will grow global views for Vice Media and expand the outlet's female audience and workforce.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Vice Media signed a deal to acquire Refinery29, which it said would increase its global audience and make its workforce predominantly female, the company announced Wednesday.

Reports that Refinery29 and Vice Media were in merger talks surfaced in July as Refinery29's finances became increasingly tight, sources with direct knowledge of the company's financial situation told Business Insider

The acquisition was supported predominantly with stocks, Anna Nicolaou reported for the Financial Times. Sources familiar with the deal told her the deal brought the value of Vice Media to $4 billion. 

Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc said the merger marks an important moment for independent media worldwide and will amplify the voices of both publication's young audiences. 

"We will not allow a rapidly consolidating media ecosystem to constrict young people's choices or their ability to freely express themselves about the things they care about most," she said in the statement. "At Vice and Refinery29, the megaphone is theirs to use and the platforms are theirs to build with us."

Vice Media's global audience reach will also increase about 17% with the addition of Refinery29, up to 350 million unique views monthly, the company said.

Refinery29 will contribute and growing female presence to Vice Media, which had a workforce with an even gender split before the merger, the company said. The majority of Vice Media employees will now be women. 

Vice faced reports of mistreatment and hostile workplace culture toward women at the height of the #MeToo movement and has been known for its majority male audience. Refinery29's audience slants female, so under the merger content will now reach a "total youth media audience" with increase focus on nonbinary consumers, the company said.

"We built Refinery29 with a mission to represent and inspire women," Refinery29's co-CEOs Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano said in the statement.

The co-CEOs will stay on at Vice Media and report to Dubuc.

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