Verizon, Hearst Jointly Acquire Complex

Courtesy of Verizon

The male-oriented digital media company also distributes a bi-monthly magazine.

Verizon and Hearst have jointly acquired male-focused media company Complex. 

The deal comes on the heels of the March launch of Verizon Hearst Media Partners, a joint venture designed to develop mobile-friendly programming for millennials. As part of the transaction, Complex will develop video content for Verizon-owned go90 and AOL.com. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal reports that the acquisition values Complex at between $250 million and $300 million. 

Founded in 2002 by Marc Ecko, Complex has become a home for millennial male content that spans music, fashion, food, sports and technology. In addition to a robust web presence that sees 50 million monthly unique visitors, the company also publishes a bi-weekly magazine. 

"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," said Brian Angiolet, senior vp consumer product and marketing at Verizon. "When we look at Complex and how well they've built audiences by championing the digital convergence of cultures for well over a decade, it pairs well with our strategic vision and current shifts in content consumption."

Verizon and Hearst have closely aligned themselves as they each strive to reach young, mobile-first audiences. Through their joint venture, they are debuting two branded online channels geared toward niche audiences within the millennial demographic. RatedRed.com will focused on young people from the heartland, and Seriously.TV will offer up comedic takes on news and politics. Verizon and Hearst also are both minority owners of AwesomenessTV with a 24.5 percent stake each in the digital media company, which is majority owned by DreamWorks Animation. 

"Complex will turn up the volume on our growing portfolio with Verizon, complementing the audiences targeted with our other channel investments," said Hearst Entertainment and Syndication co-president Neeraj Khemlani. "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." 

Complex CEO and co-founder Rich Antoniello will continue to run the company, which was advised by LionTree Advisors. The transaction is expected to close within the next 60 days. 

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