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DotDash

Dotdash has acquired Liquor.com, a digital media company that focuses on cocktails, spirits and entertaining, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: It's Dotdash's fourth acquisition of this nature this year. The multi-brand digital media company, owned by Barry Diller's Interactive Corp. (IAC), has been quietly building an empire of small, niche digital publications that publish evergreen, service content — or content that helps users answer questions, give advice or find ideas.

By the numbers: Deal terms were not disclosed, but according to Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel, the company paid roughly the same amount for the property as it did for Brides, the wedding-focused outlet previously owned by Condé Nast, earlier this year.

  • "This isn't fire sale," says Vogel. "It's an asset that we really like and we're paying a fair price for it." Vogel notes that DotDash's other acquisitions this year — Byrdie and MyDomaine — have also been roughly the same size.
  • DotDash is expected to bring in more than $150 million in revenue this year, from a combination of advertising and commerce, across its 10 brands.

Be smart: As a standalone, the acquisition seems small, but when combined with Dotdash's other acquisitions, Dotdash's investments are more sizeable.

  • For Vogel, the acquisition is part of a "portfolio deal," where the company invests in several smaller site acquisitions to reduce risk over multiple deals.
Expand chart
Data: Dotdash; Table: Axios Visuals

Details: Liquor.com's audience, like the rest of Dotdash's acquisition targets, is hyper-focused, catering to an audience that is looking for expertise in a particular subject, in this case, its cocktails and beverages.

  • DotDash plans to group the property with The Spruce, its food and home brand, as well as MyDomaine, its lifestyle and entertaining brand, to create a fuller vertical for advertisers to target.
  • "It's probably going to be the biggest cocktail and spirits place on internet," says Vogel. "Which allows us to serve advertisers in a giant category."
  • Kit Codik, Liquor.com Founder and CEO, will continue to lead Liquor.com at Dotdash.
  • The acquisition will include the acquisition of more than 10 staffers from Liquor.com that are primarily focused on editorial, which is similar to the way DotDash has structured its other deals.

The big picture: The Dotdash playbook of acquiring smaller, evergreen content sites with expertise in certain areas is becoming more attractive to media companies that are no longer simply focused on scale.

  • Case-in-point: Food52, a food and home goods site, said it sold a majority stake to TCG Capital Management for $83 million. TCG is a venture affiliate of The Chernin Group, which invests media, entertainment, and tech businesses. Food52 has for a long time focused on turning content into a viable commerce business.

What's next: DotDash has already begun bundling its portfolio of brands into four groups. The groupings make it easier for the publishing giant to sell bigger advertising and sponsorships across verticals.

  1. Health and wellness, Verywell
  2. Finance: Investopedia, The Balance
  3. Beauty and style: Byrdie, Brides, MyDomaine
  4. Food, beverage and home: TripSavvy, The Spruce, Liquor.com

Go deeper

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.