Jan 26, 2021 - Economy

Scoop: North Equity to acquire Domino Media

Photo by Donato Sardella/WireImage

North Equity, a venture equity firm that acquires and invests in media brands, is acquiring Domino Media Group, the home magazine and digital company launched by Condé Nast in 2005. The deal is expected to close this week. 

Why it matters: It's the latest example of a niche media brand being gobbled up and consolidated by a private equity firm. Private equity firms are typically less interested in editorial, and more interested in ways to better monetize a brand's value.

Details: Sources tell Axios that North Equity will be acquiring all of Domino Media's roughly 25 employees.

  • Domino, which focuses on home design and style, would help bolster North Equity's growing home vertical, which includes brands like SAVEUR, the gourmet food, beverage, and travel site, BobVila.com, a DIY home improvement site and Kitchenistic, a kitchen product review site
  • Domino is currently owned by St Louis-based digital publisher Multiply Media, which houses a few other digital brands, including Answers.com.
  • Multiply acquired Domino Media Group in 2018 from Conde Nast.

Domino has a lot of brand equity, especially with sponsors. It has strong relationships with a variety of major brands like Amazon and CB2.

  • Sources say domino (the brand is lowercased) will help bring resources to smaller brands within the North Equity portfolio that don't have the same sponsored content expertise.

The big picture: North Equity has been quietly building up a strong portfolio of digital-first brands since it first acquired The Drive from Meredith in late 2018.

  • Last year, it acquired Popular Science, Popular Photography, Saveur, Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Better You and Interesting Things from Bonnier Corporation.
  • The investment firm owns 15 digital brands in total, mostly in the auto, home, military and special interest categories.
  • North, which has built its own digital media and ad tech platform, will benefit from the increased scale from the deal. Domino also offers unique opportunities for North Equity to bolster its growing e-commerce ambitions.
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