If three’s a trend, then digital media mergers are officially a thing.
Group Nine Media announced on Monday that it had bought PopSugar, a multimedia entity with an audience of millennial women.
Group Nine — the publisher of the viral-video site NowThis, the animal site The Dodo, the food-drink-and-lifestyle site Thrillist and other outlets — declined to disclose the terms of the deal. Group Nine said it was an all-stock transaction.
Last week, Vice Media bought Refinery29 in a mostly stock deal valued around $400 million. The week before, Vox Media pulled off an all-stock purchase of New York Media, the company behind New York magazine and its digital offshoots.
PopSugar started in 2006 as a blog run by the husband-and-wife team of Brian and Lisa Sugar. It now includes a shopping platform, a cosmetics line and a festival business. Mr. Sugar said in a statement that joining forces with Group Nine allowed his digital brand “to build a scalable business model that sets the standard for the next-generation media company.”
The Group Nine chief executive Ben Lerer said in the statement that the purchase would help solidify Group Nine as a “next-generation media company with significant scale, deeply loyal and engaged audiences, multiplatform expertise, and highly diversified revenue.”
In an interview last year, Mr. Lerer said that digital publishers were more likely to seek out mergers as they look to satisfy advertisers’ appetites for large audiences. “Consolidation in digital media is something that is going to happen,” he said last November.
In addition to his role at Group Nine, he is a managing partner in the venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau, which was co-founded by his father, Kenneth Lerer. The firm has several media investments, including BuzzFeed and Axios.
Group Nine has raised $190 million to date, including a $50 million investment led by Discovery in September that valued the business at more than $600 million.
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