Penske Media Corporation Becomes Largest Shareholder in Vox Media

The two companies will continue to operate independently.
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff speaks onstage during the Vox Media's 2022 Code Conference - Day 1 on September 06, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media)
Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff
Getty Images for Vox Media

Penske Media Corporation, IndieWire’s parent company, has made a strategic investment in digital publisher Vox Media, becoming the largest shareholder of the media company that owns New York Magazine and its associated sites as well as Group Nine Media, owner of Thrillist.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies will continue to operate independently following the transaction. PMC CEO and founder Jay Penske will join Vox Media’s board of directors.

The news comes less than a month after Vox Media laid off 7 percent of its workforce, or roughly 130 employees, in a decision that CEO Jim Bankoff attributed to the current economic environment. The layoffs were the second in less than six months at the company, after a round of layoffs that eliminated 2 percent of jobs in July 2022.

Vox Media owns dozens of digital media brands, including its namesake Vox website, The Verge, Eater, Polygon, SB Nation, and Recode. In 2019, the company acquired New York Magazine and its affiliate sites, including The Cut, Vulture, The Strategist, Grub Street, Intelligencer, and Curbed. In December 2021, the company merged with Group Nine Media, bringing Thrillist, Popsugar, The Dodo, and NowThis under its umbrella.

“I have long admired Vox Media’s world-class editorial teams and brands,” Penske said in a statement. “We deeply respect the track record of both Jim Bankoff and the senior leadership team at Vox Media, and the company’s remarkable growth over the last decade. The Penske Media and Vox Media alliance will further cement both companies as leaders in modern media and take advantage of new opportunities at scale. Our two companies share a similar history of organic and acquisitive growth over time, and it made sense to invest for the future.”

“We couldn’t ask for a better partner than Jay and Penske Media to invest in our company’s future success, and help us build on and accelerate the leading creative and business strength across our organization,” Bankoff said in a statement. “In addition, this investment by Penske Media will allow Vox Media to continue scaling its existing brands and operations, while providing resources for future acquisitions, and is another step forward in the ongoing ascent of Vox Media.”

LionTree acted as financial advisor to Vox Media, while White & Case LLP acted as outside legal advisor. Morgan Lewis served as Penske Media’s legal advisor, in addition to Panarae Group who acted as a corporate advisor.

In addition to IndieWire, PMC also owns digital and print brands Variety, Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, WWD, SHE Media, Robb Report, Deadline, Sportico, BGR, ARTnews, Fairchild Media, Vibe, and GoldDerby. Last month, the company’s live-content off-shot Penske Media Eldridge acquired Dick Clark Productions, which produces the American Music Awards and Golden Globes. PMC also owns other live events, including SXSW and ATX Television Festival.

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