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Photo by Donato Sardella/WireImage

North Equity, a venture equity firm that acquires and invests in media brands, is acquiring Domino Media Group, the home magazine and digital company launched by Condé Nast in 2005. The deal is expected to close this week. 

Why it matters: It's the latest example of a niche media brand being gobbled up and consolidated by a private equity firm. Private equity firms are typically less interested in editorial, and more interested in ways to better monetize a brand's value.

Details: Sources tell Axios that North Equity will be acquiring all of Domino Media's roughly 25 employees.

  • Domino, which focuses on home design and style, would help bolster North Equity's growing home vertical, which includes brands like SAVEUR, the gourmet food, beverage, and travel site, BobVila.com, a DIY home improvement site and Kitchenistic, a kitchen product review site
  • Domino is currently owned by St Louis-based digital publisher Multiply Media, which houses a few other digital brands, including Answers.com.
  • Multiply acquired Domino Media Group in 2018 from Conde Nast.

Domino has a lot of brand equity, especially with sponsors. It has strong relationships with a variety of major brands like Amazon and CB2.

  • Sources say domino (the brand is lowercased) will help bring resources to smaller brands within the North Equity portfolio that don't have the same sponsored content expertise.

The big picture: North Equity has been quietly building up a strong portfolio of digital-first brands since it first acquired The Drive from Meredith in late 2018.

  • Last year, it acquired Popular Science, Popular Photography, Saveur, Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Better You and Interesting Things from Bonnier Corporation.
  • The investment firm owns 15 digital brands in total, mostly in the auto, home, military and special interest categories.
  • North, which has built its own digital media and ad tech platform, will benefit from the increased scale from the deal. Domino also offers unique opportunities for North Equity to bolster its growing e-commerce ambitions.

Go deeper

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. faces urgent anti-hacker crisis

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Biden administration is accelerating efforts to fill nearly 600,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the public and private sectors bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

Why it matters: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year, clogs in the talent pipeline are leaving federal, cash-strapped local governments and Big Business even more susceptible to hacking.