VOX PROPS: Curbed.com LLC., which owns blogs Racked, Eater and Curbed, has been acquired by digital startup Vox Media Inc.
Vox, which owns blogs SB Nation, The Verge and Polygon, would not comment on the purchase price, but did not deny media reports of a cash and stock acquisition valued at between $20 million and $30 million.
This story first appeared in the November 12, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The nine-year-old Curbed joins the fast-growing Vox, which reaches about 57 million readers a month and recently raised $34 million in capital.
“Curbed, Eater and Racked are three of the most relevant, well-executed brands in media today,” said Vox chief executive officer Jim Bankoff. “They are succeeding in huge categories by using a thoroughly modern approach to cater to young, highly affluent adult audiences and the marketers who seek to reach them.”
RELATED STORY: In Search of the Grand Unified Theory >>
As part of the merger, Bankoff said the company will “add talent” to the team, and reinforced that the Curbed Network editorial teams “are expected to remain intact following integration into Vox media.”
Lockhart Steele will remain editor in chief of the titles while also assisting Vox to identify new editorial talent and opportunities. Curbed’s other principal founders — Josh Albertson, Alexis Juneja and Eliot Shepard — will “each play significant roles within the merged company while ensuring a smooth integration and expansion of Curbed’s brands,” Bankoff offered.
Further investment in Curbed, Eater and Racked is planned, according Steele, who told WWD that his company has been in talks with Vox since the summer. Although there are no immediate plans for Vox and Curbed staff to sit under the same roof — Vox has offices in Washington and Midtown Manhattan, while Curbed employees work out of the old Village Voice building in Manhattan’s East Village — Steele said a move is likely to happen by next summer.
One immediate change Racked, Eater and Curbed readers can expect is a Web site relaunch in 2014, as well as a more defined focus on video and expansion in other markets.
“Now that the deal is done, we will spend the next few weeks talking and coming up with a road map,” Steele said. “We’re not going to force it. We’re going to integrate over the course of the next year.”