Vice Media rumored to be in talks to acquire Refinery29

Vice Media, the owner of media brands including Vice, Noisey, Motherboard and i-D, is reportedly in talks to buy up women’s media conglomerate, Refinery29. 


Instagram @refinery29

According to The Wall Street Journal, people familiar with the matter said the talks are in progress, but an offer may not be made. If completed, the deal would unite two of the largest venture-backed media companies in the U.S., the report continued.

The possible acquisition follows several years of struggle at both media companies. Competition within the digital media landscape has increased, leading to staff cuts at both Vice and Refinery, in an attempt to slash costs. 

Founded in 2005, Refinery29 provides online and video content targeted at millennial women, focused on subjects from style and beauty to money and horoscopes, in addition to producing video content and multiple original video series.

Back in 2017, the company laid-off 34 staff citing a “turbulent moment." Then in 2018, the company let go of 40 of its full-time staff, or about 10 percent of its workforce, after coming up short on its annual revenue target. 

Vice hasn’t been without its own struggles. Founded in Montreal, Canada in 1994 and first launched as a magazine, Vice went on to gain investments from the likes of Fox, Disney and TPG as its growth soared, eventually racking up a total of over $1 billion in investments.

However, like Refinery, Vice also began to miss its annual revenue targets, largely as a result of declining traffic and weak performance from its TV channel, Viceland. In February, Vice’s current CEO, Nancy Dubuc, announced a restructuring plan that dovetailed with a cut of 250 jobs. 

As investors began to make for an exit, both companies have launched efforts to redeem themselves. According to the WSJ source, Refinery29 has drastically shrunk its losses and grown its revenue this year by diversifying its revenue streams.

The same source said that Vice’s Dubuc is now executing a plan to expand the company by investing in its studio business and seeking a new partner that will take the company’s news broadcast to global audiences. 

FashionNetwork.com has reached out to both media companies for comment, and will update this story as further information is released. 

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