“For us, it’s a question of ambition and opportunity, and we’re ambitious,” said Jim Bonf off Fay, chief executive of Vox Media. “We will evaluate our options, but we will do it from a position of strength.” It will not comment on financial details or any potential deals.
Group Nine has its own SPAC with major publishers, including SPX Media. Talked about a possible merger for the list, but according to three people with knowledge of the matter, no one has delivered the goods yet. Ben Nerrer, head of Group Nine, said in an interview that the company was “in an enviable position” given the recent sales growth.
“SPAC obviously allows us to be more ambitious,” he said.
An alternative to Group Nine would be a deal with one of its biggest supporters: Discovery Inc. In an effort to better compete in streaming, the media giant recently embarked on a bold takeover of Warren Media. Group Nine’s assets have helped take thousands of new customers to Discovery’s streaming platform through content partnerships, making it an attractive takeover target.
The digital advertising market flourished during the epidemic, as people began to spend more online and offline; BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Group Nine all took advantage. However, their advantage was nothing compared to the amount brought by the digital giants.
“Facebook, Google and Amazon’s Crumbs are the cake of Vox, Group Nine and BuzzFeed,” said Brian Viser, lead analyst at Group M, a media investor at ad company WPP.
It shows the inequality, the need for ad-driven publishers to keep growing.
BuzzFeed’s entry into public markets is likely to benefit it. In addition to cash, it will use its stock as currency to make another deal with its HuffPost purchase lines.
“We will have more acquisition opportunities, and there are more exciting companies that we want to pursue,” said Jonah Parretti, co-founder and chief executive of BuzzFeed, last month.
When asked if BuzzFeed intends to get into the subscription business, he said in a recent interview: “Sure, we’ll consider it. Why not?”