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"Most acquisitive": Vox Media's Ryan Pauley details M&A strategy

Oct 20, 2022
Photo illustration of Ryan Pauley with geometric shapes.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: James Bareham/Vox Media

After five acquisitions in 2021, Vox Media has dubbed itself the "most acquisitive company" in digital media, chief revenue officer Ryan Pauley told Axios in an AdWeek panel Wednesday.

Why it matters: Vox Media has been working to integrate these new brands within the larger umbrella, but Pauley suggested that the company is always hunting for new acquisitions, despite a quiet 2022.

What they're saying: Vox Media is "really aggressive when the opportunities present themselves," Pauley told the panel.

  • "We are always very active and have a lot of practice on integrating and making sure we can get the most out of, and use the platform that we've built to capitalize on what those opportunities are," he says.
  • "We think there's a lot of amazing brands out there that can and should have homes, but we're focused on the execution at hand," he says.
  • "What we know for sure is through a challenging market, companies that stay really disciplined with strong execution can and will emerge stronger on the other side," he says.

Catch up quick: In December 2021, Vox Media announced its acquisition of Group Nine.

  • Earlier that year, Vox Media acquired cocktail media brand Punch, podcast companies Criminal Productions and Cafe Studios, and podcast news brand Hot Pod.

The intrigue: Pauley says a good acquisition for Vox Media could be a media brand covering a specific area it isn't already embedded in, such as gaining pet vertical through The Dodo or the women's lifestyle category with PopSugar.

  • It also could be a company with "strategic capabilities," he says, like The Strategic's e-commerce business and New York Magazine's digital subscription business.

What's next: When asked about going public like BuzzFeed or pursuing another exit, Pauley says Vox Media doesn't "have any plans to talk about going public."

  • "We just don't spend too much time thinking about what the macro environment needs to be for different outcomes," Pauley says. "What we spend all of our time focused on is building a great company with great culture, [that] produces amazing product, builds a great business."
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