Mar 3, 2022 - Economy

Vox Media lays off 3% of staff after Group Nine merger

Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff. Photo: Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Vox Media told employees Thursday it plans to lay off 3% of employees following the completion of its merger with Group Nine Media, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Synergies are to be expected following major mergers. Sources tell Axios that some of the positions affected were duplicative roles that needed to be eliminated at the senior level.

  • "These changes are necessary because combining our two organizations naturally created duplication in certain jobs, particularly at senior levels, as well as a need to re-prioritize a select few initiatives," Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said.

By the numbers: Bankoff told Axios last year that there are roughly 2,000 employees between the two companies. Roughly 60 people would therefore be affected by the cuts.

Details: In the memo, Bankoff also said most of the people impacted are in the "revenue organization, core services, studios," and at the space website Seeker, which Vox Media acquired via its merger with Group Nine.

  • "Seeker’s work will be brought into The Verge, where there is alignment in both content strategy and audience, and many people at Seeker will be offered positions at The Verge," Bankoff wrote.
  • He noted that there are "no other plans to combine editorial brands and no layoffs at other editorial brands."
  • "After today, there will be no additional layoffs as a result of the merger. This action was not brought about by an economic or business downturn – we are as confident as ever in the strength of our business," he said.

The big picture: Vox Media isn't a stranger to making these types of tough calls in the wake of growth or unprecedented circumstances.

  • The company laid off roughly 50 people citing "industry changes" in 2018. At the time, most cuts were made around its social and video teams.
  • It furloughed 9% of its staff from May 1 through July 31 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What to watch: Vox Media will continue to focus on building the company now that its acquisition with Group Nine is complete. One source said it plans to continue hiring across the organization, but will focus on editorial networks and some of its faster-growing lines of business, like studios.

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