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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

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.

Updated 22 mins ago - Health

Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hawaii became on Thursday the fifth state to confirm the newly discovered Omicron variant after New York announced five new cases earlier in the day.

The latest: In Hawaii, the variant was found in an unvaccinated O'ahu resident with moderate symptoms who had previously been infected with COVID-19, per a state health department statement. The variant has also been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Senate Dems receive max donations from Nord Stream 2 lobbyist

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A major Democratic donor and Nord Stream 2 lobbyist has made maximum campaign contributions this year to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and vulnerable Senate Democrats, campaign finance records show.

Why it matters: If pressure from the White House to vote against reimposing sanctions on the Russia-backed natural gas pipeline weren't enough, Democrats who back such legislation also will be at loggerheads with one of their party's top fundraisers.