×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Verizon, Hearst to Acquire Complex Media

Verizon and Hearst have agreed to jointly acquire Complex Media, a video-focused media company that caters to young male audiences, in a 50-50 ownership structure.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Verizon-Hearst pact values Complex at between $250 million and $300 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. Rich Antoniello, Complex CEO and co-founder, will continue to lead the company, which was founded in 2002 by fashion designer Marc Ecko.

Hearst last fall invested $21 million in New York-based Complex. Previous investors in privately held Complex include Iconix Brand Group, S3 Ventures, Austin Ventures and Accel Partners.

The Complex deal comes after Verizon and Hearst’s recent investments in AwesomenessTV — each owns 24.5% stakes, with DreamWorks Animation owning the rest — and their agreement in March to form a joint venture to build new multiplatform digital video channels targeting the mobile millennial audience.

Complex’s coverage spans a range of pop culture topics, including entertainment news, sneakers and hip-hop music, as well as food, fashion, sports and technology. The company says it has been profitable since 2010.

“The decision to acquire Complex is certainly a continuation of our media strategy, which is focused on disruption that is occurring in digital media and content distribution, and involves building a portfolio of the emerging digital brands of the future for the millennial and Gen-Z audience,” Brian Angiolet, Verizon’s senior VP of consumer product and marketing, said in announcing the deal.

According to Complex, the company reaches more than 50 million unique monthly visitors and delivers 300 million monthly video views, representing 415% year-over-year growth. “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 said in a statement.

With the acquisition by Verizon and Hearst, Complex will develop premium video content for distribution across Verizon digital platforms, including the free, ad-supported Go90 service and AOL.com.

“Complex will turn up the volume on our growing portfolio with Verizon, complementing the audiences targeted with our other channel investments,” Neeraj Khemlani, co-president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, said in a statement. “Complex’s smart, fresh content aims squarely at the ever elusive young male demo and drives unparalleled engagement with that audience across every social channel.”

This spring, the Verizon-Hearst JV, dubbed Verizon Hearst Media Partners, expects to debut two initial channels: RatedRed.com, targeted at millennials outside urban areas, and Seriously.TV, stocked with comedic digital news segments updated throughout the day.

LionTree Advisors acted as adviser to Complex on the transaction, which is expected to close within the next 60 days subject to usual closing conditions.

More Digital

  • Kelly Abcarian - Nielsen

    Nielsen Forms Addressable TV Ad Group After Buying Sorenson Media's Assets for $11.25 Million

    Nielsen thinks it has the pieces in place to finally drive up the scale of addressable TV advertising, targeted based on a television household’s profile the way internet ads have been served for years. The media-measurement firm has formed Nielsen Advanced Video Advertising, a new group focusing on developing addressable advertising initially for internet-connected smart [...]

  • Hooq Sets up Filmmakers Guild For

    Hooq Sets up Filmmakers Guild For Second Year of Pilots

    Asian video streaming platform, Hooq is to air five pilot episodes that have emerged from its Filmmakers Guild. The most successful is guaranteed to be produced as a full series and streamed on the platform. Five original selected screenplays were each awarded $30,000 to be made as pilots, which now air from March 1. The [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    Epic Pulls 'Fortnite' Ads From YouTube After Child Predator Controversy

    Epic Games is no longer running “Fortnite” pre-roll ads on YouTube after it was discovered they were playing on videos alleged predators used to exploit children, according to The Verge. The developer has paused all of its pre-roll advertising, which plays before a video starts on the streaming platform, a spokesperson said. It also reached [...]

  • New Video Shows Off Vive Cosmos

    New Video Shows Off Vive Cosmos VR Controllers

    There’s still much to be learned about HTC’s Vive Cosmos — like release date, specs, and price — but Wednesday the company released a short teaser video giving a slightly better glimpse of the controllers in action. The new controllers look a bit like rival VR headset Oculus Rift’s Touch controller, though reversed in some [...]

  • YouTube logo

    Disney Reportedly Pulls YouTube Ads Over Child-Exploitation Controversy

    YouTube is facing yet another big advertiser backlash, with Disney, Epic Games and McDonald’s among the marketers said to have pulled their ad spending after the Google-owned video platform was accused of facilitating what a critic described as a “soft-core pedophilia ring.” Vlogger Matt Watson, in a Feb. 17 video on his YouTube channel MattsWhatItIs, [...]

  • Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+ Unveiled

    Samsung Announces Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+ Phones

    Samsung officially announced its new flagship phones, the Galaxy S10 and its larger sibling, Galaxy S10+, at its Unpacked press event in San Francisco on Wednesday morning. The new phone features a punch-hole cut-out for its front-facing camera, which allowed the company to use an edge-to-edge screen design without the notch found on the latest [...]

  • Samsung's Galaxy Fold Unveiled at Unpacked

    Samsung Announces Galaxy Fold, a $1,980 Foldable Phone

    Samsung officially announced its new foldable phone, dubbed the Galaxy Fold, at its Unpacked press event in San Francisco Wednesday morning. The device features two screens that unfold to a tablet-sized slate. “We are giving you a device that doesn’t just define a new category, it defies categories,” said Samsung senior vice president of product [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content