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Photo: Group Nine

Group Nine Media, which includes digital lifestyle brands like The Dodo, NowThis, Thrillist and Seeker, has raised $50 million from Discovery Inc. and German publishing giant Axel Springer.

Why it matters: It's one of the biggest digital media investments in the past year. Investors have been mostly bearish on digital content companies because they are hard to scale and usually aren't very profitable.

Details: The latest fundraising round brings Group Nine's total amount raised to $190 million. Both investors were involved in previous fundraising rounds and will retain a minority stake in Group Nine with Discovery as the lead investor, according to a statement.

  • The company says that the additional funds will be used for continued investments in intellectual property, presumably content, and to fuel growth of its newly launched commerce division.
  • In a statement, Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav said that Group Nine is the "standout in the evolving mobile ecosystem," suggesting that the partnership between the two companies would continue to focus on mobile-first and social media partnerships. The two companies currently jointly sell advertising campaigns.

Between the lines: The company's statement also noted that the funds will be used for "potential strategic acquisitions." Rumors have circled around Group Nine acquiring Refinery29 or merging with another large media company, like BuzzFeed, for months.

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, Group Nine has also been in touch with millennial lifestyle brand Popsugar.

Be smart: The appeal of Group Nine to potential media partners is that the company is one of the top social video publishers in America. According to Group Nine, audiences spend nearly 50 million hours a month cumulatively watching content from its brands.

  • Yes, but: Last year's cheap sale of Mic brought a lot of press attention to venture capital-backed media companies, highlighting the risk that comes with raising lots of money to support ad-driven media business models.

Go deeper: An exclusive club of media unicorns survives media industry turmoil

Go deeper

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.