It yet another splashy media-related move, mega-corps Hearst and Verizon have announced plans to purchase Complex Media, a deal that values the company at $250-$300 million. Complex Media CEO Rich Antoniello will continue to lead the company.
According to the the co-president of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication, Neeraj Khemlani, “The deal just makes sense. [Verizon and Hearst] have been trying to put together a strong portfolio of digital video brands for millennials.” Hearst had already announced a $21 million minority investment in Complex Media in the fall of 2015.
The agreement follows the two firms partnering to form Verizon Hearst Media Partners, an alignment that was kicked off with the launch of two digital media properties aimed at a youthful audience: RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV, a comedy network with a political edge.
Under new ownership, Complex Media will take on the role of creating exclusive content for Verizon’s mobile video service go90, and AOL (purchased by Verizon last year) will sell the ad inventory on that service.
Complex was founded as a men’s fashion magazine in 2002 by Marc Ecko. According to the company, it has been profitable since 2010. Creating branded content won’t be a new undertaking for Complex. In 2013, Complex was brought on by PepsiCo to create and manage content for Mountain Dew through the site Green-Label.com.
The growth of online space dedicated to young men has been a robust one as of late. Hypebeast last week went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange, and in October of last year, Conde Nast acquired online music publication Pitchfork.