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Bustle Digital Group Acquires Mic Following Mic’s Massive Layoff

Bustle Digital Group has acquired Mic, the struggling digital-media company that laid off most of its employees Thursday.

A rep for Bustle said in an emailed statement, “I can confirm that Bustle Digital Group has acquired Mic. We have no further comment.” A spokeswoman for Mic declined to comment.

Bustle bought Mic for around $5 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Following its most recent funding last year, Mic had a valuation in the “mid hundreds of millions” of dollars, per the Journal. Mic’s sale talks with Bustle were previously reported by Recode.

Bustle, whose sites include Bustle, Romper, Elite Daily, and the Zoe Report, is headed by founder and CEO Bryan Goldberg. Prior to starting Bustle in 2013, Goldberg co-founded sports publisher Bleacher Report, which is now owned by Turner.

It’s unclear how many Mic employees will be joining Bustle. All of Mic’s editorial employees were laid off with the exception of co-founder and editor-at-large Jake Horowitz, HuffPost reported. Mic last year had reported having about 165 employees, but the majority of the staff were let go on Thursday morning. Mic publisher Cory Haik also on Thursday announced her exit from the company.

In a memo to Bustle staff announcing the deal, Goldberg wrote in part that Mic “navigated some tough waters in the last year, and today was an especially difficult one. Our company is in a unique position to create a bright future for Mic.”

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Bustle’s pickup of Mic comes after it bought Flavorpill, a digital culture publisher and events producer, and Rachel Zoe’s fashion and lifestyle brand Zoe Report earlier this year. In April 2017, Bustle bought Elite Daily, a millennial-skewing news publisher, from the U.K’s Daily Mail; Elite Daily has since been repositioned to target a young female audience. Bustle has raised $50.5 million in funding to date from investors including GGV, General Catalyst, Saban Capital Group and Social Capital, according to Crunchbase.

Separately from Bustle Digital Group, Goldberg bought the remaining assets of Gawker Media in July in an auction and recently hired Amanda Hale as the new publisher of Gawker, with plans to relaunch the site in 2019.

Mic was founded in 2011 by CEO Chris Altchek and Horowitz, aiming to deliver digital journalism for younger audiences. Like other digital-focused publishers, Mic has been challenged to grow revenue over the past year from online advertising, branded-content deals and other sources.

In July, Mic launched a twice-weekly newsmagazine show on Facebook Watch, “Mic Dispatch,” funded by Facebook as part of its broader journalism on its platform. Facebook recently decided to not renew the show, after Mic had received about $2 million in funding from Facebook for the initial six-month run, a source familiar with the pact said.

Mic raised around $60 million in funding total from investors including WarnerMedia Investments (formerly Time Warner Investments), Lightspeed Venture Partners, WPP, Kyu Collective, Axel Springer, Advancit Capital and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

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