Bustle Digital Group, the digital publisher whose titles
include W magazine, hired a banker to help explore ways to become a publicly traded company. It hired Farvahar Partners to find a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) for a deal valuing
BDG for at least $600 million, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The source also
said it's possible a deal won't be finalized.
BDG didn't immediately respond for a request to comment.
SPACs are like reverse mergers — they provide a way for
a company to go public without the regulatory hurdles that accompany typical initial public offerings (IPOs). A "sponsor" investor takes a SPAC public in an IPO, though the company doesn't have any
operations. It holds cash and has two years to find an acquisition target that becomes publicly traded.
The financing method could give BDG more money for acquisitions, a key
growth strategy for the company as it seeks to expand its reach. BDG has snapped up distressed media brands and worked to turn them around. Its acquisitions include style and pop-culture title
Nylon, millennial-focused news site Mic, fashion publication Elite Daily.
BDG last year participated in the deal to buy W magazine
from Future Media Group, which suspended publishing and
furloughed staff during the onset of the pandemic last year. W
editor Sara Moonves put together an investor group, including model Karlie Kloss, producer Jason Blum, race-car driver Lewis
Hamilton and fellow model Kaia Gerber, to acquire the fashion magazine. BDG is an operating partner for the magazine, providing technology and sales support.