Mar 27, 2023 - Technology

Scoop: Grid News' website to shutter


The website for Grid News, the D.C.-based digital news startup that sold last week to Jimmy Finkelstein's new media startup The Messenger, will shut down Monday afternoon, two sources told Axios.

Why it matters: While The Messenger is still evaluating what to do with Grid's products, it's likely that Grid's branding will not live on, a source told Axios.

Details: Grid's roughly 50 employees were told last week that the site would shutter, a source told Axios.

  • The Messenger's team is currently interviewing Grid employees for roles at The Messenger, with the hope that most of the company's editorial talent can join the startup, a source told Axios.
  • It's unclear whether Grid's co-founder and executive editor Laura McGann will stay on.
  • The Messenger plans to keep Grid's newsletters, but it's unclear if its podcast, "Bad Takes," will continue, a source said.
  • With the acquisition, The Messenger will have access to Grid's back catalog of content, the source noted.

Catch up quick: In November, Axios reported that Grid, which launched in early 2022 with more than $10 million in funding, was losing money.

  • The company's founders assured its staff last year that it had raised enough money to continue operating for the foreseeable future.
  • Grid's co-founder and president/CEO Mark Bauman stepped down late last year amid confusion at the company over its business, Axios reported. Grid never announced a replacement.

Between the lines: Last week, The Messenger said it would acquire Grid, and as part of that deal, Grid's owners — Abu Dhabi-based investment firm International Media Investments (IMI) — would make a minority investment in The Messenger's parent company.

  • Grid News' founders said at launch that the firm raised more than $10 million from IMI and Brian Edelman, a technology executive.
  • But the firm never said how much more than $10 million, or how much Edelman invested versus IMI. In a statement announcing the acquisition last week, The Messenger said Grid was "owned by" IMI.

The big picture: Finkelstein, a longtime media investor and entrepreneur who formerly owned The Hill, has raised $50 million for The Messenger, which is expected to launch later this spring.

  • He plans to hire hundreds of journalists to cover topics such as entertainment, news and sports.
  • A source said Finkelstein is still eyeing other news sites to potentially acquire.
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