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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The cheap sale of Mic is bringing a lot of press attention to VC-backed media companies, highlighting the risk that comes with raising lots of money to support ad-driven media business models.

The big picture: Digital media companies tend to sell for anywhere between 2.5x and 9x revenues from the previous year, or a little higher in terms of EBITDA. They are valued at what their growth expectations will be for revenue and profit over time. The goal is to bring in money at a percentage higher than what they raised, demonstrating a growth trajectory. But companies don't always bring in revenues in multiples higher than the money that they raise, which can lead to sales, layoffs and unhappy investors.

Valuations

Vox Media (founded 2011)

  • Raised: $307.6 million (latest round, 2015)
  • Revenue: $185 million (est.)
  • Latest Valuation: $1 billion

Vice (founded 1994):

  • Raised: $1.4 billion (latest round, 2017)
  • Revenue: $700 million (est.)
  • Latest Valuation: $5.7 billion

Buzzfeed (founded 2006):

  • Raised: $496.3 million (latest round, 2016 )
  • Revenue: $255 million (est.)
  • Latest Valuation: $1.7 billion

Cheddar (founded 2016)

  • Raised: $54 million (latest round, 2018)
  • Revenue: $25 million
  • Latest Valuation: $160 million

The Athletic (founded 2015)

  • Raised: $67.7 million (latest round, 2018)
  • Latest Valuation: $200 million

Axios (founded 2016)

  • Raised: $30 million (latest round, 2018)
  • Revenue: $20 million
  • Latest Valuation: TBD

(SOLD) Mashable (founded 2005)

  • Raised: $46 million (latest round, 2016)
  • Sold: $50 million, 2017
  • Revenue at sale: $42 million (est.)
  • Peak Valuation: $250 million, 2016
  • Multiple: 1.3x

(SOLD) Mic (founded 2011)

  • Raised: $60 million (latest round 2018)
  • Sold: $5 million, 2018
  • Revenue at sale: $10 million (est.)
  • Peak Valuation: $100 million + (2017)
  • Multiple: - 12x

(SOLD) Business Insider (founded 2007)

  • Raised: $55.6 million (latest round, 2015)
  • Sold: $442 million, 2015
  • Multiple: 9x

(SOLD) The Huffington Post (founded 2011)

  • Raised: $37 million (latest round, 2010)
  • Sold: $315 million, 2011
  • Multiple: 10x

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Exclusive: Meta's civil rights chief aims to "turn the knob" for good

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Meta

A year ago, Facebook brought in Roy Austin, Jr. to lead a new team focused on civil rights. Since then, he has assembled a squad of experts advising parent company Meta on everything from voting rights to hate speech to ensuring new products don't have discriminatory impact.

The big picture: Austin's team of nine must tackle those tough issues inside a company of nearly 70,000 employees serving more than 3 billion users around the world.

Momentum builds for salary transparency

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York City will soon require employers to supply a salary range when they're advertising a position — the biggest step yet in the growing but controversial movement for pay transparency.

Why it matters: Laws like New York's aim to give workers, particularly women and people of color, more power in job negotiations. But the rise in remote work is throwing a wrench into the effort.

2 hours ago - Health

Contact tracing fizzles across America

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

States across the country are scaling back their contact tracing efforts, often focusing on vulnerable communities and relying more on Americans to alert close contacts themselves after testing positive for COVID.

Why it matters: As vaccines have become available, the virus has become more infectious and life has slowly headed more toward normal, health officials have come to view contact tracing as a relatively inefficient use of resources.