Feb 6, 2023 - Economy

Penske Media becomes largest shareholder in Vox Media

Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff. Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media.

Vox Media, the digital media holding company whose titles include New York Magazine, Eater and The Verge, has raised $100 million from Penske Media Corp., according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: The money will help Vox Media weather a brutal ad market while remaining independent, and makes Penske the company's largest outside shareholder.

  • Vox Media, as Axios previously reported, has discussed other strategic options, including a sale of all or part of its business.
  • PMC houses numerous entertainment brands, including Variety, Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard. It's also begun investing in event franchises, like SXSW and the Life is Beautiful festival.

Details: The investment reportedly values Vox at $500 million, which is just half of what the company was worth when NBCUniversal invested back in 2015.

  • It's also well less than Vox's annual revenue, which tracks with how rival Buzzfeed also is trading well below its top-line.
  • Axios has learned that the entire $100 million investment is primary capital, which means that no existing shareholders sold into the deal.

The big picture: The two companies will "continue to operate separately" with "editorial and business independence," Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff said in a note to staff that was obtained by Axios and first reported by the New York Times.

  • They will partner commercially, he added, noting that they already partner on Vox Media's advertising network, Concert.

[Note: This story has been updated to include new information]

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