×

Mic Lays Off Most of Its Employees as Millennial-Focused News Startup Seeks Buyer

Mic, a New York-based digital news startup aiming at millennials, has cut the majority of its staff and is reportedly in talks to sell the company’s assets.

A rep for Mic confirmed the layoffs but declined to specify how many employees were pink-slipped. The company is in talks to sell to what remains of Mic to Bustle Digital Group, according to a source, confirming a Recode report. [UPDATE: Bustle said Thursday afternoon that it has acquired Mic.] Recode also first reported the Mic layoffs Thursday.

Mic last year had reported having about 165 employees.

Among the layoffs, Mic publisher Cory Haik, a former Washington Post exec who joined the company in 2016 to lead editorial, audience and platform teams, resigned her post Thursday. “Our business models are unsettled, and the macro forces at play are all going through their own states of unrest,” she wrote in a memo to Mic staffers.

Word that Mic was looking to sell itself surfaced in September, when the Wall Street Journal reported Mic had considered a buyout bid from another media company.

A rep for Bustle Digital Group did not respond to a request for comment about Mic. Bustle, whose sites include Bustle, Romper, Elite Daily, and the Zoe Report, is headed by founder/CEO Bryan Goldberg. He was the winning bidder for the remaining assets of Gawker Media in July and recently hired Amanda Hale as the new publisher of Gawker, with plans to relaunch it in 2019.

Mic raised around $60 million in funding total, including a $21 million round last year that included an investment from WarnerMedia Investments (formerly Time Warner Investments). Other backers include Lightspeed Venture Partners, WPP, Kyu Collective, Axel Springer, Advancit Capital and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

Mic was founded in 2011 by CEO Chris Altchek and editor-at-large Jake Horowitz, originally called PolicyMic. The company defines its mission as “to reveal and amplify stories that reshape the world,” for a young audience that “crave[s] journalism to give meaning to the world at a moment of great transformation.”

This past July, Mic launched “Mic Dispatch,” a twice-weekly newsmagazine show profiling “the underrepresented, the problem-solvers and the provocateurs.” That was part of the news programming Facebook funded to show it was commitment to promoting journalism on its platform. Facebook recently decided to not renew Mic Dispatch, adding to Mic’s financial woes. Mic had received about $2 million in funding from Facebook for the six-month run of the show, according to a source familiar with the deal.

The company has been part of a cluster of digital-media players in New York catering to news-minded millennials like Vice Media, BuzzFeed and Refinery29 — each of which have also faced economic headwinds.

In the spring of 2017, Mic hired Jonathan Carson, former chief revenue officer of Vevo and CEO of Nielsen Digital, as its first president. Carson left the company after a year, in what Altchek said at the time was a mutual decision.

The headquarters of Mic (as in “microphone”) are in New York, and the company has operated offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Kiev, Stockholm and Berlin.

Laid-off Mic employees, including executive news director Kerry Lauerman, tweeted about the cuts Thursday:

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

  • Still from "Andhadhun"

    Microsoft Streaming Deal Lifts Shares in India’s Eros

    Shares of leading Bollywood film distributor Eros International soared by 38% on Thursday following news of the company’s link up with Microsoft to develop a new generation of video streaming platform. The multinational company said that its Eros Now video operation would work with Microsoft Azure to develop its technology in three ways. They seek [...]

  • Comcast X1 DAZN

    Comcast Adds DAZN Sports-Streaming Service to Xfinity Flex, Sets Launch on X1

    DAZN, the digital sports service headed by ex-ESPN boss John Skipper, is now available to Comcast broadband customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available on Xfinity X1 this fall. It’s the first distribution deal for DAZN with a major U.S. provider since it debuted the combat-sports-oriented service in the States a year ago. In [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content