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The Refinery29 founders; from left to right: Christene Barberich, Justin Stefano, Piera Gelardi, and Philippe von Borries. Photo: Refinery29

Refinery29, the venture-backed digital media company focused on millennial women, is looking to raise up to $20 million in new funding, according to an SEC filing.

Why it matters: The company plans to use the funds to expand internationally and for its originals studio and events business, Axios has learned. The company was rumored to be in merger talks with Group Nine Media, another millennial-focused venture-backed brand recently, though there's no concrete deal at the moment, according to sources.

Details: The company has already raised at least $8 million, according to the filing.

  • The funds comes from existing backers: Stripes Group, Discovery Communications Inc. (formerly Scripps Network Interactive), WarnerMedia (previously Turner Broadcasting) and WPP, and it hopes to raise the remainder from international investors, according to a source familiar with the deal.
  • The new investment, which would be in the form of convertible debt, would bring the total amount the firm has raised to $145.4 million since 2010.

Between the lines: The new fundraising comes amid recent challenges, including an increasingly competitive digital advertising landscape.

  • The company has also gone through a series of layoffs over the last few years. Most recently, in October, Refinery29 confirmed that it would lay off 40 employees — roughly 10% of its staff. In December 2017, it laid off 34 employees.
  • Executives recently told Business Insider that the company brought in more than $100 million in revenue last year.

The big picture: In recent months, Refinery29 has been focused on expanding its coverage and events business internationally.

  • In January, it announced a multiyear deal with Endeavor's IMG, an events and talent management company, to expand its flagship pop-up event, 29Rooms, to Canada and Europe.
  • In March, it hired Katherine Tooley from Superfly as senior vice president of experiential events.

Yes, but: While Refinery29 seems committed to pushing forward with its expansion plans, a potential merger isn't completely off the table, say sources.

Refinery29 declined to comment and investors did not respond to requests for comment.

Go deeper

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.

Scoop: Trump tells confidants he plans to pardon Michael Flynn

Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

President Trump has told confidants he plans to pardon his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts, two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: Sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said Flynn will be part of a series of pardons that Trump issues between now and when he leaves office.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
10 hours ago - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.

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