Jay Penske has quietly wolfed up dozens of leisure publications over time. As we speak, the media government has a foothold in practically each nook of the business, from music (Penske Media Company owns Billboard, Rolling Stone, Vibe) to Hollywood (The Hollywood Reporter, Selection, Deadline, IndieWire, TVLine, Gold Derby) to artwork (ARTnews, Artwork in America, Artforum) and vogue (Girls’s Put on Every day). PMC has additionally gotten into reside occasions, together with a controlling stake in Austin’s South by Southwest competition. On Monday, Penske’s spree continued with a $100 million funding in Vox Media. “Because of the funding, Penske Media will personal about 20 % of Vox Media, making it the most important shareholder of the corporate,” the New York Occasions reported. Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff mentioned in a reported be aware to staff that the 2 corporations would “proceed to function individually” with “editorial and enterprise independence,” whereas including they might accomplice commercially. “The Penske Media and Vox Media alliance will additional cement each corporations as leaders in trendy media and benefit from new alternatives at scale,” Penske mentioned in an announcement.
Vox Media, which owns editorial manufacturers like New York Journal, Vox, The Verge, and Eater, has itself been in acquisition mode in recent times. Final 12 months, Vox Media purchased Group 9 Media. house to manufacturers like Thrillist and NowThis. Bankoff mentioned in a assertion that PMC’s funding “will permit Vox Media to proceed scaling its present manufacturers and operations, whereas offering sources for future acquisitions.” However the reported phrases of the deal values Vox at “simply half of what the corporate was price when NBCUniversal invested again in 2015,” when a $200 million funding spherical valued Vox at round $1 billion, Axios notes. That reportedly $500 million markdown comes as Vox Media, like many different media organizations, grapples with fallen advert income. Vox Media laid off about seven % of its workforce final month.
The corporate could also be seeking to offload on a bigger scale: “Along with elevating funds, Vox Media has met with different media corporations to debate potential acquisitions or gross sales of a few of its media properties,” in accordance with the New York Occasions. Penske, in the meantime, reveals no signal of slowing down, with a PMC subsidiary buying Dick Clark Productions, a reside leisure manufacturing firm, simply final month.
Penske, who will be part of the board of administrators at Vox on account of the deal, is one thing of an enigma, so it’s exhausting to foretell the place he’ll flip his consideration subsequent. The 44-year-old billionaire scion “avoids purple carpet occasions, nearly by no means offers interviews and has no social media footprint,” because the Occasions’ Katie Rosman wrote final 12 months, in a bit the place Penske was described by Stephen Galloway, a former THR government editor, as “the Rupert Murdoch of leisure publications.”
PMC, with all of its commerce publications, “has grow to be a chief touchdown spot for the tens of hundreds of thousands spent yearly on Oscars and Emmys promoting,” in accordance with Rosman. Again in 2018, simply after PMC had acquired a 51 % stake in Rolling Stone, a media government who’d hung out with Penske informed my colleague Joe Pompeo that Penske, being a wealthy child with a self-made father, was “going to work more durable to show he earned this than anybody else on this scenario” and “additionally looks like he has much more cash in his favor. He runs his titles for profitability. I feel if he performs his playing cards proper, he can go from a B participant to an A participant.”