Verizon and Hearst announced Monday that they will jointly acquire Complex Media, an online media company with a mostly male millennial audience.
The deal — likely to close in the next
60 days — is a 50-50 joint venture for an undisclosed sum, though
The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal valued Complex between $250 million and $300 million.
The Complex deal “just makes sense,” Neeraj Khemlani, the co-president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, told The Wall Street Journal. She added that Verizon and Hearst “have been trying to put together a strong portfolio of digital video brands for millennials.”
The acquisition adds to Hearst's millennial investment portfolio, which includes Buzzfeed, Vice and United Artist Media Group. In a way, this acquisition is an expansion of a previous Hearst investment. In September, the company invested $21 million in Complex to help it expand.
Separately, Verizon has been in the process of building its digital businesses with a recent investment in Vice in June and a $4.4 billion acquisition of AOL in May.
In addition to the joint acquisition, Complex will develop video content for distribution across Verizon digital platforms, including go90 and AOL.com, according to a statement.
Rich Antoniello, Complex CEO and cofounder, will continue to lead the company.
Over the last two years, Complex transitioned from focusing on their digital magazine to a video-first approach, reaching over 50 million unique monthly visitors and seeing consumption spike to 300 million monthly views, a 415% percent growth year over year, according to a statement.
“Since honing in on video, we’ve proven our ability to create culturally relevant, premium video content at scale in a very short amount of time,” Antoniello stated.
Brian Angiolet, Verizon’s senior vice president of consumer product and marketing, called the decision "a continuation of our media strategy, which is focused on disruption that is occurring in digital media and content distribution," adding the focus in building "emerging digital brands of the future for the millennial and Gen-Z audience."
Just a few weeks ago, Hearst and Verizon formed a 50/50 partnership called Verizon Hearst Media Partners to develop digital video channels for millennials. Their first significant investment was in AwesomenessTV, which each company now owns 24.5% of and DreamWorks Animation owns the rest.
Verizon Hearst Media Partners is also debuting two new digital video channels: RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV.Complex was originally founded in 2002 as a bimonthly magazine by fashion designer Marc Ecko.